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Nullification: How To Resist Federal Tyranny In The 21st Century by Thomas E. Woods Jr.

September 2, 2010 by  

Mention nullification as a way to resist Federal tyranny and prepare to be branded a racist who wants to bring back slavery. But nullification — the idea that if Congress passes an unconstitutional law the states don’t have to acknowledge or obey it — enjoys a rich history in the United States. It began long before slavery was a major political issue and is being used even today.

In Nullification: How To Resist Tyranny In The 21st Century, Thomas E. Woods Jr., explores the history of nullification in America. It’s a history that few students are taught in government schools, and one that even fewer mainstream historians are willing — or able — to discuss. In fact, Woods writes that at a scholarly debate he attended in 2003, only he and one other academic defended the Thomas Jefferson view of nullification (as espoused in the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions in opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts and known as the Principles of ’98).

Woods holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard and received a master’s, a Master of Philosophy and Ph.D. from Columbia University. He’s a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, he edited Exploring American History: From Colonial Times to 1877 (an 11-volume encyclopedia) and is the author of 10 books.

He says that the Founders meant for the States to be checks against Federal tyranny and the 10th Amendment was put into the Constitution to reinforce the rights of States to nullify unConstitutional laws.

A commonly-used argument against nullification is the idea that the Civil War “settled” the issue. Woods argues that the Civil War had nothing to do with nullification even though the Southern States seceded based on the (correct) compact theory of the union. That theory maintains that each individual State — not a single group of united people — joined together to form the Union. Each individual State, acting in its sovereign capacity, ratified the Constitution in the months and years following its drafting in 1878.

“The very fact that the states voted separately to ratify the Constitution, and that the Constitution was not ratified by a single, consolidated vote of all individuals in the original thirteen states, is an important piece of evidence to compact theorists that the states, rather than some single American people, created the federal Union,” Woods writes.

This is not the American history that most school children learn — nor the one that most law students study. What they are taught can be called the nationalist theory which conceives of the United States as deriving from a single sovereign people rather than from an agreement among States and the residents of each State.

Woods covers the discussions that took place and essays that were written during the States’ ratifying conventions — particularly those in Virginia — that prove they understood the States maintained the right to shield their people from encroachments by the Federal government.

The idea of nullification was invoked in the Principles of ’98 by Jefferson and James Madison, and in subsequent years by a number of States over a variety of issues. And it has continued to this day.

One recent example occurred in 2005 and 2006 when 24 States nullified the REAL ID Act of 2005. Opposition to the legislation came from both Republicans and Democrats — with one side opposing the unfunded mandates and the impact they would have on state finances and the other side opposing the privacy issues involved. Another example involves the medical use of marijuana, which is illegal under Federal law but allowed in 14 States.

And it’s through nullification that a number of States are resisting the institution of Obamacare’s mandates that everyone purchase health insurance.

Woods’ book comprehensively covers the history of nullification and lays out a plan whereby Americans can battle the ever-growing tyranny of the Federal government. It deals with all the arguments for and against the idea of nullification and is an excellent source for anyone wanting to learn how to stop the leviathan state.

I recommend Nullification: How To Resist Tyranny In The 21st Century to every patriot looking to resist Federal tyranny. It provides not only a good history lesson, but a legal lesson as well.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • http://Walkermedia.org ARTHUR

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT VIGOR AND PROWESS TOWARD JUSTICE, LIBERTY AND THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION..WE PRAY FOR REASONABLE FREEDOM BUT THE OPPOSITION DOES NOT SEE IT THAT WAY, HENCE, THEY WILL GO THE LIMIT AT THIS TIME IN HISTORY WHEN THEY HAVE SUPPORT INTERNATIONALLY…..OH WELL, IT IS A STRUGGLE AT ANY VIEW OF HISTORY, THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTELLECT AND EXPOSURE IN RESEARCH. WE HOPE THE GIANT IS WAKING UP….ARTHUR

  • http://Walkermedia.org ARTHUR

    WHO IS THE COMMENT SNATCHER THAT CANCELS MY WRITING SAYING THIS HAS BEEN SAID BEFORE? ARE YOU HACKED? ARTHUR

  • GOODBULL

    NOTE==DIFFERENT AREAS HAVE DIFFERENT NEEDS==THAT IS WHY WE NEED THE STATES, NOT JUST A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND I AM JUST TIRED AND SICK OF THE [[RACE CARD]]

  • UNCLE TOM

    i believe that indifigual states should have the right to enact federal laws,as they deem fit,,wether or not the feds withhold federal monies for that state,the federal goverment believes it has all power,but in fact, and history, IT DOES NOT, and it,s time for the states to decide whats best for it,s peoples….we must once again stand up for the majority vote,and do whats best for our own people, FEDS BE DAMED…….

  • Richard Pawley

    Sounds like a good book but if we don’t curtail the insane printing and spending of money we don’t have (thereby causing huge inflation in food and imported goods in a few years) it won’t make any difference what kind of government we have left. Some believe this is what the Marxists and Socialist progressives in Congress want, a collapse of our present government so they can inaugurate a new form or government. Already those who have the financial facts and who have no axe to grind are saying that it will take a doubling of all state and federal taxes to keep from collapsing, or to drastically cut spending until we can get back on our feet again. Only a Tea Party Congress would even consider that. No Democrat would consider this and few regular Republicans. Is there hope? Yes! Although there are many in Congress who do not put America first, they can be replaced in November. That alone will not solve our problems but it will be a start. We also need to rescind the 17th Amendment so that Senators will once again represent their home states and not international corporations. Can we keep the dollar and the economy from collapsing. I do not know, but replacing our spendthrift Congress and drastically reducing the hundreds of billions of dollars they are throwing away, is a beginning. Vote wisely in November. It could be the most important election in your lifetime.

  • Dan

    I have long agreed with the idea that Richard mentions; recind the 17th amendment!!! Go back to the origional senatorial selection process as addressed in the Constitution. This means that senators would be selected from the state legislature. Therefore, they would have to report to the state governmental body each year, and take their direction from the state government. That may reduce federal mandates on the states, and, I believe, reduce the federal power grab that we currently have. Richard is also correct, international corperations would also loose influance over our senators.

    I would also restrict the senators and their staff to whatever each indivudal state government is willing to pay them. Therefore, they cannot vote themselves big raises, massive benifets, or huge staffs at the expense of the federal tax payer. The individual states mey be more furgal with their money. True salaries and benifets would be differant from senator to senator, but I think that is a benifet to we the people.

  • Vicki

    Nullification is not just a state right/power. The 3rd box in our arsenal to protect the Constitution and our liberties is the Jury box.
    See http://www.FIJA.org for details on how to use this most important duty of any jury.

  • s c

    There are several ways to look at this topic. The basic point, however, is the FACT that we have been slowly enslaved for many years. The latest chain layer was added to our burdens when we were hosed via Herr Obummer’s healthcare scam.
    Anyone who doesn’t see that this healthcare insanity is another form of slavery is someone who needs a swift ass kick and a one-way ticket out of America.
    Not only does this Frankenstein healthcare ploy enslave America, but it will makes slaves of your kids and your grandkids and your great grandkids and keep America in debt forever. Change, my ass.
    Thanks for NOTHING, Herr Obummer.

  • http://Www. Tom f

    When Carolina succeeded and resisted the fed when civil war started fed made law that and state that resist a fed law whey will send the us military to enforce. So much for states rights. People need to join there local militias. Enforce your right to join or start a militia to enforce your state and local laws. This way your state has it’s own military or police force to protect it’s people. So many laws get passed that are unconstitutional. I had police claim they were in the right not having a warrant because of the patriot act. That was 2005 I beet it after nearly 2 years of court little bit of jail and 25000$ but patriot act violates my constitutional rights as a us citizen. Why is it still in affect? The time for protest are over. Look at Europe the people are resisting and protesting every day. But 80% of us American don deserve to be called American. If you are willing to roll over and except this new world order bullshit then you are not doing your duty as a us citizen. You should be willing to die for you and your families rights. Avenge Rome if a society rejects a system that system
    Will callapse. Look at the GMO food in Europe people wouldn’t have it they would burn down farms paint windows of green houses and because the people rejected it GMO food didn’t work in Europe. How ever America did little to resist and now we have a problem.

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