Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions

TWO major political parties formed the Federalists and the Republicans. These two parties were always at great competition with each Other to gain public popularity. At the same time tension started between the United States and France and an undeclared war was ensuing with France. These were the two causes that led to the administration of John Adams passing out the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1978. There were four acts in total, the first three were regarding the rights of immigrant.

The Sedition Act however, was perhaps the most controversial. It was deemed unconstitutional because it violated the right of speech and allowed the prosecution of anyone who voiced or printed heir opinions if it went against the government or the president of the united States. In response to the Sedition Act Thomas Jefferson dratted the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and James Madison drafted the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 with the help of Thomas Jefferson.

The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were written by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

They declared the Sedition Act to be in violation of the First and Tenth Amendments. These resolutions stated that the states had the right to deem any lava passed by congress unconstitutional if it violated the Bill of Rights. They argued that the Constitution was an agreement between the states so the government had no right to exercise powers not delegated to it and if they did then the states had the right to void them.

In other words, the states could decide when Congress was passing unconstitutional laws.

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The Kentucky Resolution declared in part, “The several States Who formed that instrument [the Constitution], being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those States, Of all unauthorized acts.. is the rightful remedy. (“Bill of rights,” 2010).

The Virginia Resolution, authored by Madison, said that by enacting the Alien and Sedition Acts, Congress was exercising “a power not delegated by the Constitution, but on the contrary, expressly and positively forbidden by one of the amendments thereto; a power, which more than any other, ought to produce universal alarm, because it is leveled against that right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed, the only effectual guardian of every other right. (“Bill of rights,” 2010).

The Kentucky Resolutions wanted to nullify any unconstitutional federal laws whereas the Virginia Resolution wanted the opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts. In conclusion, the Sedition Act of 1798 is what led to Jefferson and Madison Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. These were submitted to all the states but were only adopted in Kentucky and Virginia. Although the resolutions produced no significant result from other states it did have an impact on the future of America, they were the first statements of the states’ rights theory of government..

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Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. (2018, May 23). Retrieved from

Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
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