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In any event, Jefferson and Madison secretly drafted the 1798 Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions denouncing the federal legislation and calling for nullification, though the state legislatures of both states rejected these resolutions.Jefferson went one step further in the case of Kentucky and drafted a threat for Kentucky to secede from the Union.
Guest Constitutional Scholar Essayists, Article VI, Charles K. Madison by John Marshall In this 1830 response to Edward Everett of Massachusetts James Madison maintains that a state does not possess the authority to strike down as unconstitutional an act of the federal government.
78, Letter to Edward Everett by James Madison, Marbury v.
The federal courts and not the states are empowered to determine whether federal laws are constitutional, with the Supreme Court having the final authority.
The concept of nullification of federal law by the states was not discussed at the Constitutional Convention, so the records of that Convention provide no support for the theory of nullification.
So by strict construction and by inferred intent, nullification should play no role in the United States.
Yet, as early as 1798, the two leading Founding Fathers of the United States, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison – seemingly paranoid about the presumed over-reach by the Federalists under the presidency of John Adams — were writing out resolutions that asserted the theory of nullification in the most unambiguous and forthright terms.
Nevertheless, until the War of Northern Aggression ended in the defeat of the South, nullification was the most important theoretical alternative to the idea that the U. Supreme Court is the final arbiter of constitutional controversies.
So James Madison, in 1830, was not responding to a trivial question.
The greatest of founding fathers does not always make a great secretary of state, a great president, or a great elder-statesman.
You may learn from this episode an important lesson about human nature.