Tag Archives: Daniel Webster

Misreading McCulloch v. Maryland

The common understanding of the landmark McCulloch v Maryland case is that it argued in favor of broad congressional “implied” powers. But, an important scholarly paper shows this standard narrative to be greatly exaggerated. Continue reading

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The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions: Guideposts of Limited Government

Ed. Note: This most excellent essay by William Watkins, Jr. was re-published at New York State Sovereignty in 2012. We thought it should be given renewed prominence, given the renewed activity in posts relating to the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions … Continue reading

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The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions: Guideposts of Limited Government

For true change to take place, Americans must once again conceive of their history as a struggle to create and maintain real freedom. Part of that reconceptualization would entail making a place for the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions in the pantheon of American charters. The resolutions articulate the fundamental principles of our government in an eloquent yet logical manner; in their import, they rank second only to the Constitution. For Americans who would recreate a limited federal government of enumerated powers — the government created by the Founders ­— the resolutions can serve as an enduring inspiration. Continue reading

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The Establishment Hates Nullification

The doctrines of nullification and secession led to a bloody civil war, Stepman tells us. Again, our author’s inability to entertain a thought other than what he read in some textbook somewhere impairs his reasoning. The idea of decentralism did not lead to a bloody civil war. The doctrine of centralization, the un-American doctrine of the one-and-indivisible Union – the doctrine, in other words, of the modern state – led to a bloody civil war. Continue reading

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The States’ Rights Tradition Nobody Knows

In 1798, the legislatures of Virginia and Kentucky approved resolutions that affirmed the states’ right to resist federal encroachments on their powers. If the federal government has the exclusive right to judge the extent of its own powers, warned the resolutions’ authors (James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, respectively), it will continue to grow — regardless of elections, the separation of powers, and other much-touted limits on government power. Continue reading

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The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions: Guideposts of Limited Government

For true change to take place, Americans must once again conceive of their history as a struggle to create and maintain real freedom. Part of that reconceptualization would entail making a place for the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions in the pantheon of American charters. The resolutions articulate the fundamental principles of our government in an eloquent yet logical manner; in their import, they rank second only to the Constitution. For Americans who would recreate a limited federal government of enumerated powers — the government created by the Founders ­— the resolutions can serve as an enduring inspiration. Continue reading

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