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historicaldocuments:notes-on-nullification-madison

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historicaldocuments:notes-on-nullification-madison [2019/09/20 18:02]
Oliver Wolcott
historicaldocuments:notes-on-nullification-madison [2019/11/01 02:21] (current)
Oliver Wolcott
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 That the doctrine of nullification may be clearly understood, it must be taken as laid down in the Report of a Special Committee of the House of Representatives of S. C. in 1828. In that document it is asserted, that a single State has a Constitutional right, to arrest the execution of a law of the U. S. within its limits; that the arrest is to be presumed right & valid, and is to remain in force unless 3/4 of the States on a Convention, shall otherwise decide. That the doctrine of nullification may be clearly understood, it must be taken as laid down in the Report of a Special Committee of the House of Representatives of S. C. in 1828. In that document it is asserted, that a single State has a Constitutional right, to arrest the execution of a law of the U. S. within its limits; that the arrest is to be presumed right & valid, and is to remain in force unless 3/4 of the States on a Convention, shall otherwise decide.
  
-The forbidding aspect of a naked creed according to which a process instituted by a single State is to terminate in the ascendancy of a minority of 7, over a majority of 17, has led its partizans to disguise its deformity under the position that a single State may rightfully resist an unconstitutional & tyrannical law of the U. S., keeping out of view the essential distinction between a Constitutional right, and the natural & universal right of resisting intolerable oppression. But t<wrap hi>he true question is whether a single State has a constitutional right to annul or suspend the operation of a law of the U. S. within its limits, the State remaining a member of the Union, and admitting the Constitution to be in force.</​wrap>​+The forbidding aspect of a naked creed according to which a process instituted by a single State is to terminate in the ascendancy of a minority of 7, over a majority of 17, has led its partizans to disguise its deformity under the position that a single State may rightfully resist an unconstitutional & tyrannical law of the U. S., keeping out of view the essential distinction between a Constitutional right, and the natural & universal right of resisting intolerable oppression. But <wrap hi>the true question is whether a single State has a constitutional right to annul or suspend the operation of a law of the U. S. within its limits, the State remaining a member of the Union, and admitting the Constitution to be in force.</​wrap>​
  
 With a like policy, the Nullifiers, passover the State of things at the date of the proceedings of Virga. and the particular doctrines and arguments to which they were opposed; without an attention to which the proceedings in this as in other cases may be insecure agst. a perverted construction. With a like policy, the Nullifiers, passover the State of things at the date of the proceedings of Virga. and the particular doctrines and arguments to which they were opposed; without an attention to which the proceedings in this as in other cases may be insecure agst. a perverted construction.
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 These startling consequences from the nullifying doctrine have driven its partizans to the extravagant presumption,​ that no State would ever be so unreasonable,​ unjust & impolitic as to avail itself of its right in any case not so palpably just and fair as to ensure a concurrence of the others, or at least the requisite proportion of them. These startling consequences from the nullifying doctrine have driven its partizans to the extravagant presumption,​ that no State would ever be so unreasonable,​ unjust & impolitic as to avail itself of its right in any case not so palpably just and fair as to ensure a concurrence of the others, or at least the requisite proportion of them.
  
-Omitting the obvious remark that in such a case the law would never have been passed, or immediately repealed; and the surprize that such a defence of the nullifying right should come from S. C. in the teeth & at the time of her own example, the presumption of such a forbearance in each of the States, or such a pliability in all, among 20 or 30 Independent Sovereignties,​ must be regarded as a mockery by those who reflect for a moment on the human character, or consult the lessons of experience, not the experience only of other Countries & times, but that among ourselves; and not only under the __former defective Confederation__,​ but since the improved system took place of it. Examples of differences,​ persevering differences among the States on the constitutionality of Federal Acts, will readily occur to every one; and which would e’er this, have __defaced and demolished the Union, had the nullifying claim of S. Carolina been indiscriminately exerciseable__. In some of the States, the Carriage tax would have been collected, in others unpaid. In some the tariff on imports would be collected; in others openly resisted. In some, lighthouses wd. be established;​ in others denounced. In some States there might be war with a foreign power; in others peace and commerce. Finally, the appellate authority of the supreme Court of the U. S. would give effect to the Federal laws in some States, whilst in others, they would be rendered nullities by the State Judiciaries. ​I<wrap hi>a word the nullifying claims if reduced to practice, instead of being the conservative principle of the Constitution,​ would necessarily,​ and it may be said obviously, be a **deadly poison**.</​wrap>​+Omitting the obvious remark that in such a case the law would never have been passed, or immediately repealed; and the surprize that such a defence of the nullifying right should come from S. C. in the teeth & at the time of her own example, the presumption of such a forbearance in each of the States, or such a pliability in all, among 20 or 30 Independent Sovereignties,​ must be regarded as a mockery by those who reflect for a moment on the human character, or consult the lessons of experience, not the experience only of other Countries & times, but that among ourselves; and not only under the __former defective Confederation__,​ but since the improved system took place of it. Examples of differences,​ persevering differences among the States on the constitutionality of Federal Acts, will readily occur to every one; and which would e’er this, have __defaced and demolished the Union, had the nullifying claim of S. Carolina been indiscriminately exerciseable__. In some of the States, the Carriage tax would have been collected, in others unpaid. In some the tariff on imports would be collected; in others openly resisted. In some, lighthouses wd. be established;​ in others denounced. In some States there might be war with a foreign power; in others peace and commerce. Finally, the appellate authority of the supreme Court of the U. S. would give effect to the Federal laws in some States, whilst in others, they would be rendered nullities by the State Judiciaries. <wrap hi>In a word the nullifying claims if reduced to practice, instead of being the conservative principle of the Constitution,​ would necessarily,​ and it may be said obviously, be a **deadly poison**.</​wrap>​
  
 Thus from the 3d. Resoln. itself, whether regard be had to the employment of the term States in the plural number, to the argumentative use of it, or to the object namely the "​maintaining the authority & rights of each, which must be the same in all as in each, it is manifest that the adequate interposition to which it relates, must be not a single, but a concurrent interposition. Thus from the 3d. Resoln. itself, whether regard be had to the employment of the term States in the plural number, to the argumentative use of it, or to the object namely the "​maintaining the authority & rights of each, which must be the same in all as in each, it is manifest that the adequate interposition to which it relates, must be not a single, but a concurrent interposition.
historicaldocuments/notes-on-nullification-madison.txt · Last modified: 2019/11/01 02:21 by Oliver Wolcott