How powerful is a state? How powerful should it be? These questions have been debated since the Revolution. Under the Articles of Confederation, we saw states with significantly higher power than the national government; there was an attempt at more balance in the Constitution. Yet the debate over the power of each level of government continued to be debated, and this debate formed some of the reasoning behind having a Bill of Rights, led to the formation of our two political parties, and formed the basis of many of our conflicts in U.S. history. In the Federalist Era, we saw James Madison and Thomas Jefferson write the “Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions,” in reaction to the Alien and Sedition Acts; their work outlined their beliefs of where national law overreached and states should be able to counter that law. And in the Age of Jackson, we see the issue arise again in relation to the tariffs.
For this essay, you will need to read “Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (1798)” (but please only read the Kentucky Resolution section) and “South Carolina Exposition and Protest”.
Virginia Kentucky resolution 1798 link Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (1798) – Bill of Rights Institute https://billofrightsinstitute.org/primary-sources/virginia-and-kentucky-resolutions
South Carolina Exposition and Protest South Carolina Exposition and Protest – Wikisource, the free online library https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/South_Carolina_Exposition_and_Protest