Tag Archives: Virginia Resolution of 1798

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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Nullification for Lawyers

Jefferson and Madison did not base their principles of nullification on the fact that the Constitution had not established an ultimate authority. They based their principles on the fact that the people of the states ARE the ultimate authority – not the federal government they created. Jefferson makes this clear in the first few lines of the Kentucky Resolution of 1798. 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 Kentucky Resolutions of 1798

Our Constitutional Bill of Rights notwithstanding, the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 (authored by Thomas Jefferson) and the Virginia Resolution of 1798 (authored by James Madison in collaboration with his friend, colleague, and fellow Virginian, Mr. Jefferson), represent the first affirmations of State Sovereignty in the face of federal legislative overreach. Continue reading

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Virginia Resolution of 1798

The Virginia Resolution of 1798 was adopted by the Virginia Senate on December 24, 1798, as a protest against the Alien and Sedition Acts passed by Congress. It was authored by James Madison, in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson, who authored a set of resolutions for Kentucky. Continue reading

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Kentucky Resolution of 1799

RESOLUTIONS IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY THE representatives of the good people of this commonwealth in general assembly convened, having maturely considered the answers of sundry states in the Union, to their resolutions passed at the last session, respecting certain unconstitutional laws … 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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Mises Academy: Thomas E. Woods, Jr. on Nullification

Thomas E. Woods, Jr. presented this sample lecture from the Mises Academy’s latest online course, “Nullification: A Jeffersonian Bulwark Against Tyranny” on November 16, 2010. # # #

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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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Woods on Watkins: What States Rights Really Mean

At the Virginia ratifying convention, Patrick Henry expressed his fear that the “necessary and proper” clause of the Constitution (which said that the federal government would have all powers “necessary and proper” to carry into effect the powers granted in Article I, Section 8) would inevitably be interpreted by the federal government as a boundless grant of power, transforming the limited government that supporters of the Constitution promised into an unlimited government that would menace the people’s liberties. He was likewise concerned about the “general welfare” clause, since government could justify practically any action it might take by some strained reference to the general welfare. Continue reading

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