Who first formalized the principles of nullification?


Thomas Jefferson and James Madison first formally articulated the doctrine in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798, responding to the clearly unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Acts. Jefferson asserted that the states were “not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government,” and “where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.” Madison made a similar case in the Virginia Resolutions, arguing that, “in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil.”

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