Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

Statements of principle adopted by two state legislatures in the 1790s; they affirmed states' rights in response to the federal Alien and Sedition Acts. James Madison wrote the Virginia Resolutions, and Thomas Jefferson wrote the Kentucky Resolutions. Jefferson's draft of the Kentucky Resolutions included the statement that nullification was an appropriate course of action for a state in the face of a dangerous increase in the strength of the federal government. Although the Kentucky legislature approved most of his draft, it did not adopt this statement.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.