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title:“James Madison on Nullification”
authors:James Madison
date written:1835

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 7:57 a.m. UTC
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Madison, James. "James Madison on Nullification." The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Vol. 3. Ed. Max Farrand. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911. Print.

James Madison on Nullification (1835)

A political system which does not contain an effective provision for a peaceable decision of all controversies arising within itself, would be a government in name only. Such a provision is obviously essential; and it is equally obvious that it cannot be either peaceable or effective by making every part an authoritative empire. The final appeal in such cases must be to the authority of the whole, not to that of the parts separately and independently. This was the view taken of the subject while the Constitution was under the consideration of the people. It was this view of it which dictated the clause declaring that the Constitution and laws of the United States should be the supreme law of the land, anything in the constitution or laws of any of the States to the contrary notwithstanding.1 It was the same view which specially prohibited certain powers and acts to the States, among them any laws violating the obligation of contracts, and which dictated the appellate provision in the judicial act passed by the first Congress under the Constitution.2<1/span>
[Footnotes as included or written by Farrand]
  • 1 See Article vi.
  • 2 See Article i.
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