This chapter focuses on how slavery disfigured Southern interpretations of the Constitution during the thirty-two years immediately preceding the Civil War. It also focuses on how the party of Andrew Jackson, despite its brave professions of dedication to the democratic ideal, strove at every turn to reduce the United States to little more than an agency for the conduct of foreign affairs, to the end of preserving human bondage. The Democrats were wrong about improvements, tariffs, and the National Bank. They were even more plainly wrong, once the real issue emerged from the closet, about slavery in the territories. As they unforgivably diminished federal authority, Southerners expanded states' rights, leaving the country little more vigorous than it had been under the Articles of Confederation.
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