In 1787 (during the time of the Constitution), would a "state's rights" advocate have wanted the ratification of the Constitution? Why or why not?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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There are two ways to look at this question. If a person could see that the Articles of Confederation had several weakness and flaws, then a person who believed in the states’ rights theory would have supported the Constitution. While it was clear that the Constitution gave the federal government more power than it had under the Articles of Confederation, it was also clear that our country was struggling and would have continued to struggle if the powers of the federal government were limited. Additionally, the idea of the loose view of the Constitution had not yet been established through court rulings, so the idea of the federal government having a lot of power was not so certain to occur.

The other side of the issue is that a person who believed in states’ rights would believe that eventually the federal government would get much more power. It was clearly written in the Constitution that federal laws take priority over state laws. Thus, a true states’ rights believer would think that eventually the power of the state governments would be reduced as the power of the federal government expanded.

There are two ways to look at this question. You should pick the explanation that you feel most comfortable supporting and defending.

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