Talk:States' rights

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This article is biased and conflicts with other Wikipedia pages[edit]


As stated by several editors below, this article is clearly biased against states' rights, as proven by the fact that it opens with the Supremacy Clause, which defines Federal power, not State power. This article should obviously open with the text of the 10th Amendment, which reserves to the states and the people powers not specifically delineated in the Constitution, and the text of the "Guarantee Clause" of Article Four of the Constitution, which states "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government." Both of these are discussed and properly defined elsewhere on Wikipedia, and they are the constitutional foundations for states rights, so why aren't they provided here as the basis for the term?

The article is also clearly biased against the South, contradicting the Wikipedia page on Origins of the American Civil War by stating that only the South was inconsistent in its use of the states rights argument. In fact, as stated on the aforementioned page, the Northern states suddenly adopted the states rights argument when they wanted to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act, so much so that Millard Fillmore (as discussed on the Wikipedia page on nullification) threatened to send federal troops to VERMONT to uphold federal law!

The article also lumps states rights in with nullification, failing to explain that states rights, properly understood, refers only to the protection of powers guaranteed under the Constitution, while nullification has been held to violate the Supremacy Clause. This is not to say that states rights has been properly understood or properly applied even by its proponents, but surely the history of the misuse of the term should come after a proper description of it.

The article further seems to accept the common misconception that the South used "states rights" and nullification as its rationale for secession. If you will read the actual Ordinances of Secession, along with the separate Declarations of Causes issued by four states, you'll see that every one of them based their secession on the violation of their existing constitutional rights. (The Constitution not only provided for slavery, but even included a fugitive slave clause.) Not one Ordinance suggests that states had the right to nullify federal laws, or to secede under any other circumstances.

There's more, and it's way too much for me to fix, but those are some ideas for whoever does so. In the meantime, SOMEONE PLEASE PUT A BIASED TAG ON THIS PAGE! Historydude58 (talk) 02:26, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

"Southern Arguments" section needs some work[edit]

This [[1]] section of this article has a couple problems. The same source is used for the following statements:

"The main Southern argument in the 1850s was that banning slavery in the territories discriminated against states that allowed slavery, making them second-class states. In 1857 the Supreme Court sided with the states' rights supporters, declaring in Dred Scott v. Sandford that Congress had no authority to regulate slavery in the territories."


"One Southern argument in the 1850s was that banning slavery in the territories discriminated against states that allowed slavery, making them second-class states. In 1857 the Supreme Court sided with the states' rights supporters, declaring in Dred Scott v. Sandfordthat Congress had no authority to regulate slavery in the territories."

Aside from being redundant, which is the correct version? I'll gladly remove one but am not sure which one is more neutral.

In addition, are Thomas DiLorenzo and Charles Adams truly neo-Confederates? I am aware of some of what DiLorenzo has to say, but the term "neo-Confederate" is not exactly neutral. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:05, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

States' Rights as Code Word[edit]

This whole section smacks of bias, and could be articulated in less of an ad hominem circumstantial manner to discredit states' rights doctrines. States rights by way of interposition was also used by Wisconsin in the 1850s to nullify fugitive slave laws.

This whole section is nothing but an ad hominem, and a partisan attack with not a scintilla of proof. No politician in their right mind sets out with the goal of giving a stump speech on the site of slain civil rights activists to tacitly cast a stone at their legacy. That's asinine and this non-sense shouldn't be in the wiki article.

On the opening day of Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign, the new candidate declared, "I believe in states' rights" in a speech at Neshoba County fairgrounds near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Philadelphia was the site of the murders of three civil rights workers in 1964. Andrew Young, Bob Herbert and others believed that Reagan's choice of this location to give his states' rights speech constituted a veiled appeal to southern segregationists.[1][2]. Reagan's campaign staff, however, denied any connection.[3] At the same event, Strom Thurmond, by then an anti-segregation[citation needed] Republican senator from South Carolina), declared: "We want that federal government to keep their filthy hands off the rights of the states." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:04, January 19, 2008

No politician in their right mind -- this is a groundless claim, but if valid implies that Reagan was not in his right mind. He cast a similar stone when he made his comments about Bitburg. -- (talk) 20:03, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Events from the American Civil War through the American Civil Rights Movement gave the phrase "states' rights" a history that made it a code word. A few Republicans sought to use it for political advancement.Jimmuldrow (talk) 05:02, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

If you don't like the term, may I propose a more appropriate title that is more in line with constitutional concepts rather than rhetoric -- State Sovereignty. "Rights" isn't technically correct and has emotional history, and "powers" doesn't describe the contention with the federal government. QuilaBird (talk) 16:42, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

I have to question the biased tone of this article, and the choice of authors to quote. Though I am unfamiliar with Manisha Sinha as an author, I can clearly see (assuming she has been correctly quoted, and this is not just the bias of the quoter) her opinion and biased point of view of the causus belli of the Civil War. While I have no issue what-so-ever with people having a strong opinion, I do not believe the article pages on Wiki are the place for them...this is supposed to be a library, not a soap box. (talk) 18:57, 18 July 2008 (UTC)m8lsem

Sinha is clearly identified as expressing her opinion, which is counterposed in part as a contrasting view to the arguments of the Confederates and their modern-day apologists. (As a historian, I feel she also summarizes many of the arguments made by the secessionists at their conventions.) This is appropriate in order to create a neutral point of view in covering the issue, and in not letting the arguments of the advocates of states'-rights dominate the discussion of the topic. --Orange Mike | Talk 13:55, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like Orange Mike subscribes to the same school of though as Sinha. The whole section smacks of a serious bias (read:opinon)and has no place in a scholarly work(read:presenting facts and letting the reader form their own opinion). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:14, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

In order to use Manisha Sinha as a contrast to "the arguments of the Confederates and their modern-day apologists", it would make sense to then put in a section explaining the views of said Confederates and Apologists. As this article stands, it is entirely biased and one sided. Anyone out there willing to put aside their opinions and beliefs and state just fact? I am actually very offended by this quote in particular, because it is not actually a "contrast" to other arguments as it is a sarcastic and whiny comment that sounds like it was made by a 10 year old who simply didn't like someone elses opinions and attempts to mock them, rather than disagreeing by pointing out actual fact. I understand and agree with the sentiments that are being voiced by Sinha, however I can not agree with the childish way in which it was done. This quote should be deleted. Wolf (talk) 12:59, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
These comments suggest a failure to understand Wikipedia principles. Reliably cited and properly attributed assertions by historians are perfectly appropriate -- it is not for us to judge them, as "opinion" or failing to be "just fact" or "sarcastic and whiny" or anything else. If you have reliably cited and properly attributed assertions by other historians with a different view, you are free to add them to the article. -- (talk) 20:03, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

A timely Houston Chronicle commentary on Texas Governor Rick Perry's recent comments: Foofighter20x (talk) 15:49, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

You know, after now being a Wikipedia contributor for going on 5 years now, I look at this article and the Sinha list and can't help but converge on the realization that Sinha's critique is simply beyond the proper scope of this article, and would be better placed in the article on Dog whistle politics while retaining a summary of the phrases use in DWP and a link to that portion of the article. -- Foofighter20x (talk) 19:20, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

States Rights Article[edit]

Like the user below, i think this article is biased. But, I think the whole thing is. (I'm a new user, so could someone else post the "warning" template on the article page itself? Thanks) (talk) 23:36, 10 December 2008 (UTC) An American Citizen

If all of it is biased, I guess the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions don't belong? Maybe you should be more specific.Jimmuldrow (talk) 03:16, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

The whole states rights examples is hugely BIASED, you can not argue it is not read it for crying out loud. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:57, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

While I agree that the section in question is biased, unilateral deletion of it is not in keeping with WP:NPOV. Also, the section is referenced, so it's a valid section for the article to have. My opinion is that the list as it stands is more a copyright violation, for its expanse and detail, and needs to be summarized better. Feel free to attempt that, but do not revert the article again, and do not do a unilateral deletion again, or you'll be reported for a WP:3RR violation. Thanks. Foofighter20x (talk) 02:23, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

If this is about the Sinha list, while it's one sided, most of it is true. I think it should be polished up, not deleted.Jimmuldrow (talk) 02:43, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Complete this sentence 'You cannot polish a ....' —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:29, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

^That might be witty if you said what you were talking about. Maybe.Jimmuldrow (talk) 03:12, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

We all might want to make an inclusion of what in the past few years has been called "Blue States' rights." There was a discussion of it on NPR back in late 2004, talking about things like gay marriage, medical marijuana, and physician-assisted suicide. While it doesn't relate to the specific section that is contested, it does offer an interesting look at the other side of the states' rights coin, and shows the issue isn't as one-sided as its critics would make it out to be. Foofighter20x (talk) 06:58, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Good idea.Jimmuldrow (talk) 02:25, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Just throwing this out there: While the article may appear to be one-sided, one has to admit this is a doctrine in which really only one side of the political spectrum typically subscribes, so it's not unreasonable the entire article will inherently read as one sided. Another example of a good article that has a slant (though this one slants left) is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, even though the article remains as neutral as it can (besides the fact the subject of the article pre-supposes there is something wrong with the U.S. Electoral College, and relies heavily on arguments for reforming it). Our goal here ought to be just to have the article describe, detail, and discuss the idea, it's history, its present-day application to politics, and its criticisms. Even though such a revised article will obviously slant one way, it'd be an honest and reasonable attempt to balance the article as best we can. Foofighter20x (talk) 03:49, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Is there still a dispute over the Sinha list?[edit]

The previous problems were obvious and glaring. I think an extensive rewrite made it better. What do other people think?Jimmuldrow (talk) 17:18, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

I think it's pretty clear that the list is Sinha's view on the matter, but is there really a need for a list at all, especially when there's no extensive list in any other part of the article? PaulGS (talk) 13:49, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm still of the opinion that the list is too extensive for fair use purposes. Also, I wonder if Sinha's views, though relevant, represent the average consensus in academia over the topic (which I'm doubtful they do). While there is debate within the scholarship, I don't necessarily think her specific views are representative of the main focus over national vs. state power. Sinha is more historical criticism. I recommend further parring and revision. Foofighter20x (talk) 23:09, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Try reading Potter's The Impending Crisis and Freehling's Prelude to Secession and The Road to Disunion and James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom for details on what some of the other better historians have to say about causes of the American Civil War. Also, read Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens' Cornerstone Speech and the declarations of reasons for secession given by South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas. As to why there is popular disagreement between high school histories and what the better historians have to say, read Lies my Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. Most of the sectional crises leading up to the war were about slavery. The South would say they were about Southern rights, honor, liberty and equality. Northerners would complain about the alleged aggressions of the slave power. Jimmuldrow (talk) 02:30, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Why are the statements of other author's being incorporated into Sinha's list? Did Sihna cite those? If not, they need to separated as they changed the meaning of the whole list with regard to the sentence introducing it. Also, as a law student, your remark about "high school histories," implicating what you think is the extent of my knowledge on the topic, doesn't show a good faith vote of confidence; I need to go ice my toes you mashed. Also, I have the Lies book and read it years ago. It doesn't change the truth inherent in my point: State's rights is primarily focused on the debate over federalism and the extent of national power in a system of government of dual sovereign entities. It's association with slavery and segregation, and the criticisms thereof, are ancillary to the discussion. Foofighter20x (talk) 05:45, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, foo. I halfway see your point. But if everything that connects states' rights to a hidden agenda or politics was removed, there goes most of the article.Jimmuldrow (talk) 13:15, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
By no means do I wish the criticisms removed. I just wish the article were better organized. Had I the spare time to really tackle the problem, I'd rewrite the article. Alas, time is something I'm rather short on right now. :) Foofighter20x (talk) 15:53, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Sinha's list gives away its bias with the use of "purported" before "secession". Certain states declared themselves independent of the Union. Legal or not (and for whatever reasons), it was a true declaration. Sinha's use of 'purported' implies it was a false or misleading claim. Emotive language in other parts of the list merely enforce this view.

The list is better off on a page about the American Civil War. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:29, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Article reorganization[edit]

This article sure does leave out a lot...

  • Intro
  • State sovereignty as concept
  • Antebellum controversies and development
    • The Early Republic
      • Section 25 of the Judiciary Act of 1789
      • Chisholm v. Georgia and the Eleventh Amendment
      • Alien and Sedition Acts, the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, and interposition
      • Existence or not of a federal common law
      • New England reaction to 1807 Embargo
      • Hartford Convention (northern secessionists)
    • The Marshall Court
      • U.S. v. Peters
      • Fletcher v. Peck
      • Martin v. Hunter's Lessee
      • Dartmouth College v. Woodward
      • McCulloch v. Maryland and John Taylor of Caroline's "Defense of States' Rights"
      • Cohens v. Virginia
    • Tariff of Abominations, South Carolina Exposition and Protest, Nullification Crisis of 1832
    • The Taney Court
      • Mayor of New York v. Miln and State's "police powers"
      • Charles River Bridge case
      • Briscoe v. Bank of Kentucky
    • The Fugitive Slave Acts
      • Act of 1793, Prigg v. Pennsylvania, and Jones v. Van Zandt
      • Act of 1850, and State personal liberty statutes—of note is Massachusetts's PLA of 1855: use of state's rights by northern states, use of national power by southern states.
      • Ableman v. Booth
      • Kentucky v. Dennison
  • Civil War and aftermath
    • Secession (again, only this time they followed through)
    • Confederate Constitution, and its defects
    • 14th Amendment
  • Progressive era
    • 17th amendment and its effects
    • Hammer v. Dagenhart
    • Missouri v. Holland
    • Gitlow v. New York
  • Expansion of state regulatory powers
    • Nebbia v. New York
    • West Coast Hotel v. Parrish
    • Milk Board v. Eisenburg
    • Madden v. Kentucky
    • Osborn v. Ozlin
  • Civil rights movement
    • Interposition returns
    • Brown v. Board and the renewal of the Equal Protection Clause
    • Cooper v. Aaron
    • Loving v. Virginia
  • The Warren Court
    • Incorporation of Bill of Rights againt states
  • The Rehnquist Court and federalism
    • New Judicial Federalism
    • New York v. United States
    • United States v. Lopez
    • U.S. Term Limits v. Thorton
    • U.S. v. Virginia
    • United States v. Morrision
    • Printz v. United States
    • Alden v. Maine
  • Contemporary states' rights
  • Criticism
    • Abbreviated Sinha (that list is still too long)
    • States right as code word

Foofighter20x (talk) 20:06, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Very true, and I don't know if this is included in the above or not, but states' rights arguments were also used by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn legislation to ban child labor. And then there was the "sick chicken" case. Schechter, or something like that.Jimmuldrow (talk) 07:41, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes. I added Hammer v. Dagenhart for the child labor case. As for the Schechter case, that was more about the extent of Congressional commerce powers and not really so much about states' rights, so I left it out. Foofighter20x (talk) 08:51, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

You have deleted with UNDO and warned that links to the US Constitution and US Census are unsourced[edit]

Yworo, I am interested that you (and at least one other) oppose and VETO the addition of a definition of what States' Rights are. You don't like the US Constitution sources and US Census links I added. Why do you oppose mentioning Article Four,4,1, requirement the each state have a "Republican Form of Government" in the article? Why do you oppose mentioning US Constitution and Amendments about elections of US Senators, US Representatives and US Presidents?

With Definition I added: [2]

With your preferred (and I think inadequate) definition: [3]

[States' Rights] Page History: [4]

Diff of versions: [5]

My opening paragraph:

States' rights in U.S. politics refers to the political powers that U.S. states possess in relation to the three tiers of rights, which are Individual Rights of "We the People", States' Rights of the many States, and Federal Rights of the national Federal Government. This framework is guaranteed by United States Constitution and Amendments. Political power is thoughtfully and specifically collected and distributed by requiring each state to be of a "Republican Form of Government" through the US Constitution's Article Four, Section Four, Clause One, ("The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government") and the Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights ("The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"). Because of this requirement and ideal, two political parties in the United States later picked 'Republican' as its name, Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican party about 1792, and the Republican Party started in 1853.

Yworo preferred opening Paragraph (with UNDO):

States' rights in U.S. politics refers to the political powers that U.S. states possess in relation to the federal government, as guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

It is very easy, and undisciplined, to use UNDO to control the message. Please specify, by editing the text I added, which portions do not meet the Wikipedia policies as you alone see them. Editing a "good faith edit" (that you disagree with) is constructive help and is preferable to deleting out right with UNDO. Because of how vague the definition is in your preferred version of the article, this article would strongly benefit from you improving the material I added, not just deleting it. Npendleton (talk) 16:31, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Please start by using secondary sources. The Constitution is right up there with the Bible for idiosyncratic personal interpretation. There is nowhere to even start marking up your additions, because it all appears to be your own opinions based on primary sources. That's completely unacceptable and will be reverted every time. All you have to do is cite the material to secondary sources when you add it. That way we know whose interpretation of the Constitution it is, where that interpretation can be verified, and whether the source cited is reliable. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; the article is not a research paper. Every link in this comment provides information about why your edits are problematic and how to rectifiy it. Please read them then give some indication that you understand the issue. Yworo (talk) 16:41, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

The Title[edit]

A lot of people are probably going to interpret this as merely a semantic point and/or POV, but I think the title should be changed because there's really no such thing as states' rights or for that matter federal rights. Only persons (or "the People" in constitutional language) have rights. Governments have powers. The difference is that rights are assumed to be inherent whereas powers are granted to the government by the People. --Dekker451 (talk) 01:44, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

That's your interpretation. Many conservatives, especially in the era of the Founding Fathers, would disagree with you. Not all conservatives are minimalists, even in the U.S. --Orange Mike | Talk 05:34, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
It's not about liberal vs. conservative and no, it's not just my "interepretation". It's US Constitution 101, but then that's pretty much impossible to show since apparently we can't use the Constitution itself as a valid source for information on the Constitution. I don't really see why people who are supposedly so learned about the Constitution don't understand the difference between powers and rights.
If you read the document itself instead of buying into the propagandist obsession with "secondary" sources you will see that the difference between the two is quite clear. It never says anything about rights of any government, only powers of the government and rights of the People. And yes, there is a difference between rights and powers. A big difference. --Dekker451 (talk) 10:10, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Dekker451's astute and careful use of terms taken directly from the U.S. Constitution is absolutely correct regarding "rights" and "powers". Perhaps some people's resistance to acknowledge the clear contextual meaning of these terms as detailed in the U.S. Constitution is related to their refusal to acknowledge what is plainly stated in the Declaration of Independence -- that people inherently have "unalienable Rights" "endowed by their Creator" (not granted by governments), while governments are delegated "powers" by the people with their consent -- "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,..." The Founding Fathers held "these truths to be self evident..." -- that was their "interpretation". (talk) 23:40, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Economists such as...[edit]

Two economists are mentioned. What does "such as" mean in this context? That there five, 20, or hundreds more who agree with those two? It is a manipulative turn of phrase which intends to lead the reader to believe that these two are just placeholders for the many who agree with them. It isn't made clear why these two are mentioned, aside from the very likely fact that they represent the view of the person who inserted them. More compelling is the view of libertarian Clint Bolick, justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, who has written, “The very notion of states' rights is oxymoronic. States don't have rights. States have powers. People have rights. And the primary purpose of federalism is to protect those rights.” But then Bolick isn't pushing the neo-confederacy conservatism that DiLorenzo and Woods support through the Mises Institute. Nicmart (talk) 15:43, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Los Angeles Times, Aug. 13, 1980, p. D7, Shades of the Klan: Reagan's Talk of State's Rights is Scary, Andrew Young.
  2. ^ Herbert, Bob (June 16, 2005) "An Empty Apology." New York Times.
  3. ^ Arkansas News Bureau, July 2, 2006, The 1980 Neshoba County Fair in Context, David Sanders. [6]