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Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 2.djvu/376

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358 ^^R YARD LA W RB VIR W.

THE LEGAL ASPECT OF THE SOUTHERN QUESTION.

IT is my purpose briefly to present certain points of law, most of them well settled, involved in discussions of the " Southern Question/*

Even before the time of the present Constitution the country divided naturally into a "North " and a "South." In addition to the fact that the people of the two sections seemed to differ in- stinctively in their respective ideals of government, it was but natural that the manufacturing and commercial North should tend toward consolidation, and that the agricultural South should de- velop a love for local self-government. A trading community must have unionĀ ; an agricultural need not. The conflict of opinion thus engendered between the Northern and Southern States upon matters of economy and government has constituted, in the different phases which it has from time to time assumed, the "Southern Question."

The Constitution, adopted as a compromise, is so elastic as to permit a construction by each section according to its own interest. Therefore upon nearly every question of constitutional interpre- tation we find the North contending for the powers of the federal government, and the South for the powers of the States.

The first fifty years and more of the legal history of the United States marks a gradual development of the powers of the national government. The Supreme Court decided in 1816 that the 25th section of the Judiciary Act, giving the court power to pass upon constitutionality of State laws, was constitutional.^ Again, under the same section, it was held that the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction in causes where a State is a party.^ Further, Congres.s asserted the power ^ to regulate slavery in the Territories, and to impose conditions upon the admission of States, powers which were afterwards denied in the "Dred Scott Case.'** But the 8th

  • Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, i Wheat. 304.

^ Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. 264.

  • In the Missouri Compromise, 1820.
  • Dred Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393 (1856).