Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions


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Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions,

in U.S. history, resolutions passed in opposition to the Alien and Sedition ActsAlien and Sedition Acts,
1798, four laws enacted by the Federalist-controlled U.S. Congress, allegedly in response to the hostile actions of the French Revolutionary government on the seas and in the councils of diplomacy (see XYZ Affair), but actually designed to destroy Thomas
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, which were enacted by the Federalists in 1798. The Jeffersonian Republicans first replied in the Kentucky Resolutions, adopted by the Kentucky legislature in Nov., 1798. Written by Thomas Jefferson himself, they were a severe attack on the Federalists' broad interpretation of the Constitution, which would have extended the powers of the national government over the states. The resolutions declared that the Constitution merely established a compact between the states and that the federal government had no right to exercise powers not specifically delegated to it under the terms of the compact; should the federal government assume such powers, its acts under them would be unauthoritative and therefore void. It was the right of the states and not the federal government to decide as to the constitutionality of such acts. A further resolution, adopted in Feb., 1799, provided a means by which the states could enforce their decisions by formal nullification of the objectionable laws. A similar set of resolutions was adopted in Virginia in Dec., 1798, but these Virginia Resolutions, written by James Madison, were a somewhat milder expression of the strict construction of the Constitution and the compact theory of the Union. The resolutions were submitted to the other states for approval with no real result; their chief importance lies in the fact that they were later considered to be the first notable statements of the states' rightsstates' rights,
in U.S. history, doctrine based on the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
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 theory of government, a theory that opened the way for the nullificationnullification,
in U.S. history, a doctrine expounded by the advocates of extreme states' rights. It held that states have the right to declare null and void any federal law that they deem unconstitutional.
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 controversy and ultimately for secessionsecession,
in political science, formal withdrawal from an association by a group discontented with the actions or decisions of that association. The term is generally used to refer to withdrawal from a political entity; such withdrawal usually occurs when a territory or state
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.

Bibliography

See E. D. Warfield, The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 (1887, repr. 1969); J. C. Miller, Crisis in Freedom (1951, repr. 1964).

References in periodicals archive ?
However, conspicuously absent from the list of universally revered charters are Thomas Jefferson's and James Madison's Kentucky and Virginia resolutions.
Though much has changed since Jefferson and Madison penned the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions, the nature of power remains the same--power can be checked only by power.
The state responses to the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions disappointed the Republicans.
Though the doctrines of the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions are most often thought of as the staple of southern states' rights advocates, many states of both the North and the South have at some time either expressly approved the principles of the resolutions or acted in their spirit.
The principles of the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions were his guiding light as his state faced a belligerent President Andrew Jackson.
21) Not until South Carolina seceded after the election of Abraham Lincoln was a state to go farther in accordance with the principles of the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions.
The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, along with drafts and responses to them, are especially valuable because they demonstrate how problems of interpretive authority cut across other forms of normative disagreement.
Other states' responses to the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and Madison's defense of the latter resolutions against the other states' criticisms shed light on these issues.
Ten of the existing sixteen states' legislatures formally or informally rejected the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798.
It is noteworthy that the Constitution did not expressly reserve to the states or their legislatures the authority to act on behalf of the states' residents by the forms of speech, petitioning, and influence that the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions exemplify.
67) But some treatment of them is necessary to evaluate the contemporary relevance of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Madison's defense of the latter.
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