Even Madison was alarmed by Jefferson's wording and used slightly more discreet language in his Virginia Resolutions
. Decades later, he would try to distance himself from the implication that the Constitution was a mere treaty, or that states could nullify federal laws.
ACCORDING TO CALHOUN, NOT ONLY was the logic of nullification airtight, but he also believed he had the greatest authorities on his side: Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, principal authors of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
of 1798, respectively, written in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts.
This principle is addressed in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
of 1798 and 1799.
As I showed in a journal article years ago, recollection of the Philadelphia Convention was not the only context in which he engaged in such behavior: his famous Virginia Report of 1800 arguably represents not merely an explanation but a significant moderation of the Virginia Resolutions
There are eight chapters: the idea of a non-party state; the idea of revolution; the idea of revolution: conspiracy and counterrevolution; the principles of the American and French Revolution; the politics of faction; the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
and threats to the First Amendment; the politics of the revolution of 1800: prelude; the politics of the revolution of 1800: revolution.
They note Thomas Jefferson and James Madison popularized nullification in the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions
Weiner's analysis draws principally on Madison's thought regarding the extended republic, the Bill of Rights, and separation of powers, but he also delves into Madison's understanding of freedom of speech and conscience, the national negative, and the Virginia Resolutions
Instead of following the lead of other Civil War narratives and beginning with the Mexican American War, Guelzo's first chapter addresses a coterie of topics, from the political philosophy of the revolutionary generation and the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
to the rise of the Cotton South and the tactics of the abolitionist movement.
No less than James Madison drafted the Virginia Resolutions
, affirming that state's dedication to defending the Constitution against all threats, foreign and domestic, and, among other essential points, addressing the unconstitutional claims of power asserted by the Federal government within the Alien and Sedition Acts.
Jefferson's response to them, in modified form, became the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 and the Virginia Resolutions
of 1798, known as the "Principles of '98." The latter stated: The states do not "hold their constitutional rights by the courtesy of Congress....
In his discussion of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Zavodnyik maintains that it was unclear in "James Madison's" Virginia Resolutions
exactly what they meant when they noted that in case of unconstitutional and dangerous federal policy, the states "have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose." Zavodnyik asks, "'Interpose?' Did that mean nullify or void offensive laws?
However, conspicuously absent from the list of universally revered charters are Thomas Jefferson's and James Madison's Kentucky and Virginia resolutions
. For their lucid reasoning and peerless prose, they merit inclusion as much as the Constitution itself.