Put not your trust in Princes. However, both of these views are based on a misconception.
Printer-friendly version The following resolutions were proposed to the Kentucky Legislature, and this version was adopted on November Essay home remedy,as a protest against the Alien and Sedition Acts passed by Congress. They were authored by Thomas Jefferson, but he did not make public the fact until years later.
This represents one of the clearest expressions of his views on how the Constitution was supposed to be interpreted. The Kentucky Resolutions of 1. Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to 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: And thus also they guarded against all abridgment by the United States of the freedom of religious opinions and exercises, and retained to themselves the right of protecting the same, as this State, by a law passed on the general demand of its citizens, had already protected them from all human restraint or interference.
Resolved, That alien friends are under the jurisdiction and protection of the laws of the State wherein they are: And it is further to be noted, that this transfer of judiciary power is to that magistrate of the general government who already possesses all the Executive, and a negative on all Legislative powers.
Resolved, That a committee of conference and correspondence be appointed, who shall have in charge to communicate the preceding resolutions to the Legislatures of the several States: In questions of powers, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.
That this commonwealth does therefore call on its co-States for an expression of their sentiments on the acts concerning aliens and for the punishment of certain crimes herein before specified, plainly declaring whether these acts are or are not authorized by the federal compact.
And it doubts not that their sense will be so announced as to prove their attachment unaltered to limited government, weather general or particular. And that the rights and liberties of their co-States will be exposed to no dangers by remaining embarked in a common bottom with their own.
That they will concur with this commonwealth in considering the said acts as so palpably against the Constitution as to amount to an undisguised declaration that that compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the General Government, but that it will proceed in the exercise over these States, of all powers whatsoever: Resolved, That the said committee be authorized to communicate by writing or personal conference, at any times or places whatever, with any person or persons who may be appointed by any one or more co-States to correspond or confer with them; and that they lay their proceedings before the next session of Assembly.
Also see the Virginia Resolution ofauthored by James Madison, for the same purpose, and a followup Kentucky Resolution of adopted by the Kentucky Legislature a year later.
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