This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 The resolutions sketched by Thomas Jefferson and passed by the Legislature of Kentucky declared: ‘That whensoever the general government assumes and delegates powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void and of no force; that each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming as to itself the other party; that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, since that would have made its discretion and not the Constitution the measure of its powers; that as in all other cases of a compact among parties having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of the infractions as the mode and measure of redress.’ That the doctrine of States' rights and rigid construction of the Constitution was held by the people of the North generally and of New England in particular, is amply proved by their words and deeds, both before and after the promulgation of the above resolutions by Virginia aud Kentucky. Mr. Ellsworth and Mr. Sherman write: ‘Some additional powers are vested in Congress, which was the principal object the States had in view in appointing the Convention; those matters extend only to the common interests of the Union, and are specially defined, so that the particular States retain their sovereignty in other matters.’ Dr. Johnson further says: ‘This excludes the idea of an armed force.’ And Oliver Ellsworth, of Connecticut, endorses this statement: ‘The Constitution does not attempt to coerce sovereign bodies-States in their political capacity.’ This is sufficient evidence of the extreme States' rights opinion of the New Englanders and their allies during the close of the last and at the opening of the present century. Why their opinions as to matters of right changed so completely in accordance with their pecuniary interests the generation which fought the war and crushed the South will have to answer to their God; they have never been able to form an answer convincing to man.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.