amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes, delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving each State for itself the residuary mass of right to their own self-government, and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers its acts are unauthoritative, void and of no force; that to this compact each State acceded as a State and is an integral party; that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the power delegated to itself, since that would have made discretion and not the Constitution
the measure of its powers; but that as in all cases of compact among parties having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.’
For more than fifty years, up to the brink of the war, this resolution was reaffirmed by State legislatures and party conventions as containing the true theory of our government.
It had been put forth by men who had taken a leading part in the war of the Revolution and the formation of the Federal Constitution
, as embodying the principles upon which separation from Great Britain
had taken place and the federative system of government had been founded.
But it had a still further significance and object.
Within a decade after the formation of the union of the States, dangerous heresies had gained a foothold, and a monarchical element, assuming the theory of a consolidated government, had passed acts such as the alien and sedition laws, and in many ways transcended the limits of the Constitution
By a silent, yet steady and peaceful revolution, our form of government was undergoing a radical change when Mr. Jefferson
sounded the note of alarm and, upon the platform of the resolutions of 1798, overthrew the Federal party in 1800 and, in contradistinction to its contention for a strong central government with powers other than those specially delegated to it by the States, established