A blockbuster scholarly article published in the Winter 2015 edition of Journal of the Early Republic shines new light on the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798, debunking conventional wisdom holding that every state rejected Thomas Jefferson and James Madison’s principles of nullification and interposition.

Dr. Kevin Gutzman recently appeared on Mike Church’s show to discuss the significance of Wendell Bird’s research, saying, “It’s not the case that every other state disagreed with Virginia and Kentucky. In fact, what Bird shows are resolutions from Georgia and Tennessee endorsing those arguments made by the Virginia and Kentucky legislatures.

Bird uses newspaper articles, state legislative journals and other original sources to show that only the six New England states rejected the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions outright. Other states were split on the issue and several southern states supported the principles.

The Georgia resolution even affirms state interposition.

“That to advise an approbation of those acts [the Alien and Sedition Acts], as some states seem to have done, would be to speak a language foreign to their hearts; but the committee hope that they will be repealed without the interposition of the state legislature.”

So, the Georgia resolution said, in essence, we hope all we have to do is pass these resolutions and we don’t have to resort to “interposition.”

“Apparently then interposition doesn’t mean passing resolutions,” Gutzman said.

You can listen to the interview HERE.

Mike Maharrey

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