Im working on a historical-fiction arguement between Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.
Prior to the civil war most people in the North were not abolitionists; abolitionist sentiments were growing but the majority of Northerners were still either supportive of or indifferent to slavery. The South did worry that the federal government would ban slavery but the main concern was balance of power. The South argued that the state's rights should be paramount and states should be able to nullify federal laws they disagree with. The North wanted a stronger federal government that had the right to force states to comply with federal laws.
Slavery was ended by the emancipation proclamation largely to punish the South rather than out of a moral opposition to slavery.
The role of state vs federal government was never entirely settled. During the civil rights movement in the 1960's the South argued that they should not have to comply with desegregation and should still be able to ban black students from state universities. They felt the federal government had no right to force the civil rights act on states. Today a large part of the Tea Party movement is about states rights. Many tea party "patriots" feel that states should have the right to nullify health care reform. Note that during the civil rights struggles segregationists called the efforts to give equal rights to blacks Communism much like the Tea Party "Patriots" refer to any federal program they don't like as Socialism or Communism. Texas governor Rick Perry even voiced support of Texas succeeding from the union since he disagrees with health care reform, bailouts of the financial and auto industries, and raising taxes.
confederates believed that a state should decide whether or not to use slaves. down south they had big farms where hey needed slaves but up north where most of the economy was industrial they didnt need slaves. the north found this unfair and said the south didnt need slaves.