Under the Constitution, power is divided between the national (also known as federal) government and the state governments.
The national government has the power to enforce constitutional laws. Each state has the power to regulate matters inside the state as long as they are within constitutional law. These powers are sometimes called states’ rights.
Those who were in favor of states’ rights protested that the government was overstepping its bounds by acting on behalf of former slaves in the areas of education, employment, voting rights, and other matters the states felt they controlled.