The Constitution. Why Did it Fail to uphold the Union that it created ?

Essay by ggggggggggHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2003

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The Constitution certainly contributed to the failure of the union it created. The document was originally formed with the intention of unifying the newly formed United States of America. Since then, the Constitution was effective in protecting the rights and ideals of the people. But by 1850, the Constitution had become a point of sectional disunity and had influenced a split both politically and ideologically between the North and the South. The writers of this document can in part be held responsible for the tension it caused. Although the Constitution was very effective in its early years, the writers had made the mistake of leaving several important issues open and unresolved, causing the eventual disunity over these issues. The Constitution ultimately contributed to the failure of the union because of the issues that were not resolved, and therefore caused controversy in the years leading up to the Civil War.

One of the main unresolved issues of the Constitution was succession. The writers of this document did not consider that any state would ever wish to leave the union, and so did not address whether or not a state could secede. As a result of the Constitution's failure to address this issue, when the southern states wanted to leave the union, it was considered unconstitutional to use force to stop this uprising. James Buchanan was in support of the states' rights to leave the union if they did not feel they were properly represented. He stated in Document G, "The Southern States, standing of the basis of the Constitution, have a right to demand this act of justice from the States of the North." He also comments on the power of Congress to use force in keeping a state from succeeding, saying "... no such power has been delegated to...