During the years depicted in this video, 1954-1956, the US Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation of the public bus system and public schools was a violation of the U.S. Constitution. In what ways are the events depicted in this video a battle over federalism?
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The battle over the civil rights of blacks during the Civil Rights Movement was a conflict between federal and state's rights. Many states in the South wanted to govern their own way and have their own laws about voter registration, desegregation of schools, and other discriminatory practices that Rosa Parks and others, for example, experienced on the Montgomery Bus Lines. Governors such as Orval E. Faubus from Arkansas protested and went against federal law when the Little Rock 9 desegregated Central High School in Little Rock. Faubus and other politicians across the South felt that states should have the power to determine how they wished to govern without any federal intervention. Many southern senators and congressmen even signed the "Southern Manifesto" that said they would resist integration of blacks at all costs. As with the incident at Central High School, the federal government ended up sending in the national guard to suppress the protests and protect the black children going to the all white high school. The power struggle between state and federal law has been around since the beginning of the establishment of our democratic government with the Articles of Confederation.
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