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Citizens across the country are fed up with the politicians in Washington telling us how to live our lives—and then sticking us with the bill. But what can we do? Actually, we can just say “no.” As New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, “nullification” allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws. For many tea partiers nationwide, nullif Citizens across the country are fed up with the politicians in Washington telling us how to live our lives—and then sticking us with the bill. But what can we do? Actually, we can just say “no.” As New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, “nullification” allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws. For many tea partiers nationwide, nullification is rapidly becoming the only way to stop an over-reaching government drunk on power. From privacy to national healthcare, Woods shows how this growing and popular movement is sweeping across America and empowering states to take action against Obama’s socialist policies and big-government agenda.


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Citizens across the country are fed up with the politicians in Washington telling us how to live our lives—and then sticking us with the bill. But what can we do? Actually, we can just say “no.” As New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, “nullification” allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws. For many tea partiers nationwide, nullif Citizens across the country are fed up with the politicians in Washington telling us how to live our lives—and then sticking us with the bill. But what can we do? Actually, we can just say “no.” As New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, “nullification” allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws. For many tea partiers nationwide, nullification is rapidly becoming the only way to stop an over-reaching government drunk on power. From privacy to national healthcare, Woods shows how this growing and popular movement is sweeping across America and empowering states to take action against Obama’s socialist policies and big-government agenda.

30 review for Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century

  1. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    This book was first-rate, and outlines about the only effective resistance strategy we have left.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John Maniscalco

    I picked this book up because I was interested in the topic but I expected a rather sophomoric and bombastic argument for nullification. I could not have been more wrong. Woods brilliantly and persuasively argues in support of nullification and its effectiveness in combating a federal government that seeks constant accumulation of powers not expressly designated to it by the Constitution. In a beautiful accounting of the compact theory of union Woods argues that it is the duty of states to interp I picked this book up because I was interested in the topic but I expected a rather sophomoric and bombastic argument for nullification. I could not have been more wrong. Woods brilliantly and persuasively argues in support of nullification and its effectiveness in combating a federal government that seeks constant accumulation of powers not expressly designated to it by the Constitution. In a beautiful accounting of the compact theory of union Woods argues that it is the duty of states to interpose itself between the federal government and the citizens when Congress passes laws that are in violation of the Constitution. He argues that: *The compact theory recognizes that the states created the federal union by their respective ratification of the Constitution. If the nationalist theory was correct, one national ratification vote would have been sufficient. *The states ratified the Constitution only through a guarantee in the forms of the 9th and 10th Amendments that the federal government would only have the powers expressly granted to it in the Constitution and that the others would be reserved to the states or the people. *It is illogical for the Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality of federal laws since the Supreme Court is itself a part of the federal government. This amounts to the federal government deciding for itself what it can and cannot do. *Only the states can combat the growth of unconstitutional accumulation of federal power through nullification. *Nullification has a rich and effective history. Among its uses was to oppose the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Embargo Act, and the Fugitive Slave Act. Even today, states that refuse to enforce the federal ban on medical marijuana have proved effective. Here, Woods cleans up and provides a more accurate accounting of the historic record by demonstrating that nullification and states rights are not the refuge for supporters of slavery. I found this book both thought provoking and persuasive and I would hope that it begins a debate in this country over how to combat the flagrantly unConstitutional accumulation of power of the federal government.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jason Mccool

    Is a federal government created by the states the only legitimate judge of it's own power? Is it a conflict of interest for the federal judiciary (i.e. the Supreme Court) to rule on the extent of the federal government's power when it conflicts with that of the states that made it? Is "States Rights" just an obscure rallying cry for wannabe rebels or was it an integral part of our founding, and a key component of the checks and balances designed to keep our federal government from becoming just Is a federal government created by the states the only legitimate judge of it's own power? Is it a conflict of interest for the federal judiciary (i.e. the Supreme Court) to rule on the extent of the federal government's power when it conflicts with that of the states that made it? Is "States Rights" just an obscure rallying cry for wannabe rebels or was it an integral part of our founding, and a key component of the checks and balances designed to keep our federal government from becoming just another tyranny? This is a great book about a legal concept most people are not even aware is an option for opposing unconstitutional federal laws, much less an option favored by both Madison and Jefferson. Unfortunately, the few people that have heard of nullification only associate it with the South's lead-up to secession. However, Thomas Woods does a great job of writing a very well-documented thesis that shows how nullification was used by both Northern and Southern states to hold the power-hungry federal government in check. He uses extensive historical quotes from Jefferson, Madison, and others to show both the original intent and later application of nullification to prevent onerous laws from being enforced against a state's citizens. While the language of the quotes from the 1700's and 1800's might be difficult for some modern readers, it is well worth the effort to read and understand our nation's history in order to change the course we're on. The second half of the book is historical documents referenced in the first half, such as the Constitution, the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799, and James Madison's Report of 1800, among others. Following that are extensive endnotes for those wanting more information or wanting to verify the accuracy of Woods' research. Point is, read it, learn to question everything about your government and hold them accountable, because they surely won't walk the line on their own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    J.A.A. Purves

    Mr. Woods effectively sums up his respect for the U.S. Constitution by quoting famous American anarchist, Lysander Spooner, in the conclusion of his book on Nullification: "Lysander Spooner, abolitionist and anarchist, once said that the Constitution has either authorized the government we have now or has been helpless to prevent it. `In either case,' he starkly concluded, the Constitution `is unfit to exist.'" (pg 142) With this book, Woods has finally just violently hurled himself out of mainst Mr. Woods effectively sums up his respect for the U.S. Constitution by quoting famous American anarchist, Lysander Spooner, in the conclusion of his book on Nullification: "Lysander Spooner, abolitionist and anarchist, once said that the Constitution has either authorized the government we have now or has been helpless to prevent it. `In either case,' he starkly concluded, the Constitution `is unfit to exist.'" (pg 142) With this book, Woods has finally just violently hurled himself out of mainstream conservatism and into the fringe. As a conservative with tea party sympathies myself, I have to warn everyone that if they follow Woods' suggestions, they are going to send the Tea Party movement down the abyss, along the way of the "birthers" and other "outside of conservatism" dingbats. It is no coincidence that Spooner was a profound influence on libertarian Murray Rothbard (who was famous for (a) arguing that the government shouldn't be allowed the power of taxation, or actually the right to exist at all, and (b) being kicked out of conservative circles by William F. Buckley, Jr., National Review, and Co.). It should come as no surprise that Woods finds it useful to quote from Rothbard in order to make the arguments in his book. This book is based on selective and shoddily thrown together history, ignoring obvious historical facts that are inconvenient to Woods' arguments. For example, it was only Jefferson, not Madison, who supported the idea of nullification. (Madison, not Jefferson, helped write the Constitution.) The power of the states to nullify and ignore federal law was one of the huge problems under the Articles of Confederation which caused the Constitutional Convention in 1787 in the first place. In other words, the Constitution was written so that the states couldn't ignore or nullify federal law ... http://redemptiosehnsucht.blogspot.co...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kenny Murphy

    This is a wonderfully written book by Tom Woods about the history of nullification in the U.S. The process of "nullification", is when the states uphold the 10th Amendment, The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Thus, a unconstitutional law is not a law at all and the State has every right to not comply with the Federal government. Woods discusses parts of the Constitution s This is a wonderfully written book by Tom Woods about the history of nullification in the U.S. The process of "nullification", is when the states uphold the 10th Amendment, The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Thus, a unconstitutional law is not a law at all and the State has every right to not comply with the Federal government. Woods discusses parts of the Constitution such as the "commerce clause", "general welfare clause" and the "necessary and proper clause" which are misrepresented by politicians to justify imposing unconstitutional laws on all of us. Critics of state nullification like to associate the idea that states can not comply with the Fed with slavery, but what they don't teach people in school is that it was the use of nullification that ended the practice of slavery in many states, by refusing to comply with the federally mandated Fugitive Slave Act. Also, reprinted here are the actual documents from when nullification was used, such as the Virginia Resolutions & the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. The appendix also includes the Constitution, for reference purposes. My only complaint is the cover art, poor taste, makes it look like partisan crap.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Darryl Perry

    I have been “fan” of Tom Woods since I first read The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. Since reading that book a few years ago, I’ve read more of Tom’s books; Who Killed the Constitution and Meltdown. I’ve had the chance to meet Tom, even having an interesting dinner with him, Adam Kokesh, Michael Maresco and about a dozen other active members of the “Freedom Movement.” Tom being the nice guy that he is, even contributed to a book I co-wrote and edited as a tribute to the Ron Pau I have been “fan” of Tom Woods since I first read The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. Since reading that book a few years ago, I’ve read more of Tom’s books; Who Killed the Constitution and Meltdown. I’ve had the chance to meet Tom, even having an interesting dinner with him, Adam Kokesh, Michael Maresco and about a dozen other active members of the “Freedom Movement.” Tom being the nice guy that he is, even contributed to a book I co-wrote and edited as a tribute to the Ron Paul 2008 Presidential campaign, Songs of Freedom: Tales From the Revolution (which was named 1 of 4 finalists in the Current Events: Political category by USA Book News in the National Best Books 2010 Awards). But, I digress. In January 2010, I heard Tom speak at a Campaign for Liberty event in Atlanta, where he mentioned that he was writing a book on “nullification.” He went on to give a few teasers about the contents. I knew I wanted to read the book, as I felt it would further my understanding of a concept I already liked. I could not have been more right. Tom begins by examining WHY people should “return to a forbidden idea” – I really like how he calls “nullification” a “forbidden idea.” On page 3 Tom writes, “Nullification begins with the axiomatic point that a federal law that violates the Constitution is no law at all. It is void and of no effect…. Nullification provides a shield between the people of a State and an unconstitutional law from the federal government.” He also explains that the federal government, created by the states via the constitution, should not have “a monopoly on constitutional interpretation.” After all, why should any group/organization/government created by (and supposedly for the benefit) of the parties involved be allowed to become superior to the parties that created it? Woods goes on to cite numerous letters and papers written by the Federalists claiming that States did have a right to nullify unconstitutional laws. He even show modern examples of nullification that have not resulted (as some say nullification does) in bloodshed. Medical Marijuana laws, refusal to implement REAL ID & the Firearms Freedom Acts are just 3 examples of States using “nullification” to defend the State and the citizens & residents of that State from unconstitutional laws. Woods also cites the work being done by the Tenth Amendment Center and their fight to oppose federal violations of the Constitution. Woods next examines “the problem an rightful remedy.” He writes, “When the Constitution was ratified, the people were assured that it established a government of limited powers… that the States retained all powers not delegated to the new government… This is not a peculiarly conservative or libertarian reading of the historical record. This is the historical record.” He then examines several instances where the federal government overstepped their bounds. Should we wait for the Supreme Court to decide whether or not the federal government has violated the Constitution? Jefferson argues doing so would “place us under the despotism of oligarchy.” The only option left is either nullification or civil disobedience. Woods then looks at “The spirit of ’98”, referencing the Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions of 1798 nullifying the Alien & Sedition Acts. Kentucky & Virginia were not the only States to use nullification, indeed Rhode Island, Connecticut & Massachusetts all used nullification less than 15 years after Kentucky & Virginia. From 1812 until 1860 many other States employed nullification when the federal government was seen as overstepping the bounds of the Constitution. The most overlooked example of nullification was by Wisconsin when the legislature nullified a Fugitive Slave Law that was seen as unconstitutional. However, opponents of nullification don’t like to reference this act, because it doesn’t fit the argument that “nullification is about slavery.” In fact, nullification was never used to defend the institution of slavery. In chapter 4, he compares the “compact theory” vs the “nationalist view” on the creation of the United States of America by asking the questions: “Was the United States created by a group of independent political societies that established the federal government as their agent, reserving all undelegated powers? Or was the United States the creation of a single, undifferentiated American people?” The “compact theory” is consistent with historical evidence; each of the 13 States ratified the Constitution separately, not as a single body. That alone supports the “compact theory.” The fact that the 10th Amendment says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” is further proof that of the “compact theory.” However, Tom gives space for the “nationalist view” and soundly refutes each “argument” in support of this view. He then looks at “nullification today” – a pretty good name for a newspaper on the subject, if you ask me. Woods briefly gives a history of “Western liberty.” Then he takes a look at the reactions of different States to the recent “health care reform” bill that was passed by Congress. At the time of publishing 27 States had either passed nullification laws or were in the act of doing so. He also talks about jury nullification and other options to nullification, such as Amending the Constitution. But, if the federal government doesn’t abide by the Constitution as currently written, what makes anyone think they’ll obey an amendment? To answer this question. Woods, surprisingly, quotes Lysander Spooner. Woods even includes “Eleven Essential Documents” which includes both the Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions of 1798 as well as nullification resolutions from Connecticut & Wisconsin. There can be no justice done in any attempt to summarize documents. Tom Woods, has definitely written another excellent book. In one of my favorite quotes, which is an amazing summary of the subject, Woods writes, “Nullification is about learning to exercise our rights, whether the courts or the politicians want us to or not.”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brent

    I gave this book 5/5 stars not for the writing, but for the book's concept: a state's ability to declare an unconstitutional federal law null and void. Woods cites as precedent the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and the Virginia Resolutions of 1799. These were issued by the state legislatures in response to President John Adams' Alien and Sedition Acts which, among other things, made it a crime to simply criticize the government. Anyway, with that stage set, Woods expounds upon the Compact Theory of I gave this book 5/5 stars not for the writing, but for the book's concept: a state's ability to declare an unconstitutional federal law null and void. Woods cites as precedent the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and the Virginia Resolutions of 1799. These were issued by the state legislatures in response to President John Adams' Alien and Sedition Acts which, among other things, made it a crime to simply criticize the government. Anyway, with that stage set, Woods expounds upon the Compact Theory of the Constitution. The United States was created by an agreement of the States, not the general population living in the Colonies. This is an important concept because when the Federal Government passes a law or claims authority and power not granted by the Constitution, who can judge? Most of us would say the Supreme Court, but how can a branch of the Federal Government objectively rule on actions of the Federal Government? The Supreme Court is comprised of men and women hand-picked by the very people who create and execute the legislation of this country. No matter how much the Supreme Court may claim to be an objective arbiter in such matters, no one can deny that the Federal Government, aided by the Supreme Court, has overstepped its constitutional bounds. That's where the States come in. Whenever an objective judge cannot be found to decide on matters regarding an agreement (or compact) the decision is left to the compact's original parties. In this case, the States, as the parties who agreed to form a Federal Government and grant it certain, limited powers, are the entities who have the authority to decide whether their creation, the Federal Government, has exceeded its constitutional authority. This is a no-brainer. Woods does a great job explaining these concepts and answers critics. Read this book to get a better idea of how our Founding Fathers intended our government to work, and why the State Legislatures should redouble their efforts to resist Federal encroachment on powers reserved to the States and to the American people by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Terrence Daugherty

    I cannot think of another work that covers the idea of Nullification (and Secession) as well as this book by Tom Woods. He does a fine job at citation while avoiding conjecture. Each chapter is laden with history, but in such a concise manner so as to not overburden the reader. Each quote was relevant, and firmly supported Woods' premises encouraging the survival of Nullification principles. There need to be more up-to-date works on this topic, shown in a positive light, so as to stem the tide o I cannot think of another work that covers the idea of Nullification (and Secession) as well as this book by Tom Woods. He does a fine job at citation while avoiding conjecture. Each chapter is laden with history, but in such a concise manner so as to not overburden the reader. Each quote was relevant, and firmly supported Woods' premises encouraging the survival of Nullification principles. There need to be more up-to-date works on this topic, shown in a positive light, so as to stem the tide of Statism.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Robins

    Great to have the argument for nullification so cogently presented, as well as the historical documents defending it as the second part of the volume. Very well synthesized by Dr. Woods; stayed well focused on topic, but also presented a few insights into libertarian natural rights and non-aggression philosophy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wil Roese

    Dr. Woods makes a strong historical case for the duty of state legislatures to nullify federal laws which they feel are unconstitutional. He also shows the Federal government derives its power from the states.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Donna Anoskey

    I thoroughly enjoy Tom Woods' writing, and this was no exception. His arguments for state nullification are well rooted in the foundation of the States, and the Constitution, as well as the writings of the period. His sources are well noted, and the book is very readable. The inclusion of 11 "Essential Documents" highlights how differently "rights", "states", and the Constitution were thought of early in US history than today. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the historical basis o I thoroughly enjoy Tom Woods' writing, and this was no exception. His arguments for state nullification are well rooted in the foundation of the States, and the Constitution, as well as the writings of the period. His sources are well noted, and the book is very readable. The inclusion of 11 "Essential Documents" highlights how differently "rights", "states", and the Constitution were thought of early in US history than today. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the historical basis of states rights and nullification.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dan Coats

    This book is Tom Woods' best yet. It is historically rigorous and its prescription of the "rightful remedy" will continue to be relevant. Learn the history government schools will not teach you and read this book. Woods ends with Lord Byron: "Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow."

  13. 5 out of 5

    William

    I read this book already being a giant fan of Dr. Woods, and was not disappointed by his latest offering. "Nullification" is a brilliant concept and its time has now come. Nullification is the exercise of state power with regard to interpreting the constitution. Relying on (and I think proving) that the constitution was based on a contract between the original 13 states and their agent the Federal Government, Nullification argues that the States, as an equal party in the federal compact, have a I read this book already being a giant fan of Dr. Woods, and was not disappointed by his latest offering. "Nullification" is a brilliant concept and its time has now come. Nullification is the exercise of state power with regard to interpreting the constitution. Relying on (and I think proving) that the constitution was based on a contract between the original 13 states and their agent the Federal Government, Nullification argues that the States, as an equal party in the federal compact, have a right to interpret the constitutionality of federal law. Speaking heavily of the noble "Principles of 98" (1798), Tom reminds us "......That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes un-delegated powers, its acts are un-authoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress. Tom Woods tells the history of this long forgotten remedy to federal tyranny and oppression and dismantles the link to slavery and states right that many "zombies" in the modern political backdrop seek to associate with this American tradition. I highly recommend this read as a stalwart barrier against Federal tyranny.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    First, the cover art is a horrible choice and a great disservice to the content within. This book is not a partisan, petulant, whining attack of one political party against another. Instead, you can expect a clear, well-documented overview of aspects of governance in America, particularly: *A defense of the 9th and 10th Amendments of the constitution *A questioning look at what happens when there is a dispute between a state government and the federal government over distribution of powers - and a First, the cover art is a horrible choice and a great disservice to the content within. This book is not a partisan, petulant, whining attack of one political party against another. Instead, you can expect a clear, well-documented overview of aspects of governance in America, particularly: *A defense of the 9th and 10th Amendments of the constitution *A questioning look at what happens when there is a dispute between a state government and the federal government over distribution of powers - and a proposed revival of an historic remedy *A definition of nullificaton - what it is and what it is not *A reminder of seemingly forgotten and rarely taught American history *An examination of the definition of The United States of America *A review of some protections granted by the constitution to citizens of these United States These topics are important ones to any citizen of this republic of independent states. The subject is especially pertinent now as the ongoing American debate over states rights vs. federal power seems to be, once again, gaining momentum. Personally, I found the book to provide a glimmer of hope that (with a bit of courage from citizens and state governments) our individual liberties might again regain protections lost. However, I admit that I am very skeptical that the level of resolve needed will ever again be found within much of our citizenry.

  15. 5 out of 5

    The American Conservative

    'Nullification is a brief book in terms of original authorial content, but what’s here is wonderful. Woods is a scholar, yet his writing style is accessible, with just the right amount of punch. He sets forth the case for nullification with logic and nuance but in a conversational tone.' Read the full review, "Know Your States' Rights," on our website: http://www.theamericanconservative.co... 'Nullification is a brief book in terms of original authorial content, but what’s here is wonderful. Woods is a scholar, yet his writing style is accessible, with just the right amount of punch. He sets forth the case for nullification with logic and nuance but in a conversational tone.' Read the full review, "Know Your States' Rights," on our website: http://www.theamericanconservative.co...

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    Much of this book was great, but I almost always love Tom Woods' books. It did slow down in places, especially where whole pages were swathed with passages lifted wholesale from 200 year-old text---relevant and useful, to be sure, but I would prefer he paraphrase, modernize and add his take. But on the whole, it was a revelation, to understand the logic and basis for State Nullification and its corollary, Interposition. He makes an excellent, step-by-step case, for why the States, as members of Much of this book was great, but I almost always love Tom Woods' books. It did slow down in places, especially where whole pages were swathed with passages lifted wholesale from 200 year-old text---relevant and useful, to be sure, but I would prefer he paraphrase, modernize and add his take. But on the whole, it was a revelation, to understand the logic and basis for State Nullification and its corollary, Interposition. He makes an excellent, step-by-step case, for why the States, as members of a compact, are morally, logically and legally able to ignore unjust or illegal Federal laws. It makes perfect sense, I think, as yet another check-and-balance of Federal power, and of course as an aspect of Federalism, which is itself integral to our system of Constitutional-Republicanism. As one of the original "Spirit of '76-ers" and as the courageous author of The Kentucky Resolutions, Thomas Jefferson earns my respect and admiration. The same goes with James Madison, author of The Virginia Resolutions---both documents which spelled-out a case for State Nullification (ignoring, and refusing to abide by) of John Adams and the Federalists' odious Alien & Sedition Act. His last chapter was especially rousing (to a Constitution/libertarian Nerd like me, anyway), with his entreaty that we move beyond think-tank expositions on the failings of the Constitution and the dangers and incompetence of the Federal government, and toward action---i.e. a push in our respective states for the adoption and recognition of Nullification and Interposition as useful, logical tools in minimizing and neutralizing Federal illegalities. I am sure some readers, not surprisingly, can't get past the impediment of believing "if States can ignore Federal laws, then (gasp!) there will be anarchy! The States can't just be allowed to ignore laws!" But they miss the point, that the original confederation of states (the Union) was and is voluntary, and the Federal government was not meant to supersede the states in all things; In fact, the balance between the branches of the Federal government, and between the Feds and the states, all combine to make-up the Federalism that checks the unbridled, concentration of power in a central government, the a state's practice of Nullification would be an expression of that aspect of Federalism. Also, if the Federal government acts outside the Constitution, then such laws are, ipso facto, illegitimate and illegal acts ("illegal laws" and "laws of no authority"). A nullification of said illegal acts is simply rendering them a "nullity" i.e. that they didn't exist, and are of no consequence. It makes no sense for the boundaries of Federal power---the limits of an agent's powers, ceded to it by the principal---be ultimately determined and judged by the Federal government itself, i.e. that it is absurd to have the agent determine its own limits of power; there must be another mechanism beyond that, i.e. a determination made by the principal (the states), as to whether the constraints upon the agent (the Constitution) have been breached (an unconstitutional act). I think also, part of what makes Nullification and Interposition so rational and reasonable, is that no one state is imposing upon any other state---which is what occurs when a majority of states force a minority of states to submit to Federal power and control; While secession is the last-resort tool of a desperate state, in refusing to submit to Federal tyranny, it is also an act harmful to the States interests (by reason of depriving the state of the benefits that come with being in the confederation, union or voluntary association); Nullification and imposition are useful alternatives to the extreme act of secession, and can be employed by any one state or group of states, while avoiding direct harm to the other States that may choose to comply with the Federal dictates. I have read some of Woods' other books (Who Killed the Constitution; Meltdown, to name two) and I really respect his scholarship and ability to communicate the subject matter.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shane Hawk

    The first half was an excellent historical account and analysis of Jefferson’s nullification and interposition. Woods included people’s opinions at the time across the states. He mirrored some modern day examples albeit they lack teeth and some refer to this as “neo-nullification.” Woods showed how nullification was used on behalf of free speech and free trade, and against unconstitutional searches and seizures, federalization of the militia for offensive purposes, the prospect of military consc The first half was an excellent historical account and analysis of Jefferson’s nullification and interposition. Woods included people’s opinions at the time across the states. He mirrored some modern day examples albeit they lack teeth and some refer to this as “neo-nullification.” Woods showed how nullification was used on behalf of free speech and free trade, and against unconstitutional searches and seizures, federalization of the militia for offensive purposes, the prospect of military conscription, and the worst outrages of the fugitive-slave laws. An important read as nullification is creeping into common dialogue vis-a-vis cannabis legalization and sanctuary cities/states. Perhaps states will grow a backbone and begin to outright claim a federal law unconstitutional and obstruct federal enforcement of it. The second half was a reprinting of eleven essential documents including the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799, which were written by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Also included were: - A document in which the Virginia Legislature explained the Resolutions of 1798 to the people of Virginia - Madison’s Report of 1800 in which he replied to arguments against his 1798 resolutions - A transcript of a speech from Connecticut governor Trumbull in which he addressed Jefferson’s embargo and endorsed state interposition - The resolutions of Connecticut’s General Assembly in which they adopted Trumbull’s positions and policy—also makes reference to Massachusetts’ legislature which has similar feelings - An excerpt from John C. Calhoun’s Fort Hill Address (July 26, 1831) in which, as sitting Vice President, he defends nullification from criticism - An excerpt from a pamphlet authored by Judge Abel P. Upshur explained nullification as laid out in the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 was the only way to truly enforce it—anything less was inadequate - An excerpt from essays published as articles in Virginia’s Norfolk and Portsmouth Herald and authored by Littleton Waller Tazewell which addressed President Jackson’s “Proclamation Regarding Nullification of December 10, 1832.” The excerpt has Tazewell arguing against the judicial branch being an impartial arbiter in cases between the federal government and states. - The Joint Resolution of the Legislature of Wisconsin (March 19, 1859) in which Wisconsin addressed, six decades later, how the federal government had no right to charge abolitionist Sherman Booth in agitating matters involving fugitive slave Joshua Glover. It essentially invoked nullification against slavery. “When the term ‘united States of America’ was used, the word ‘united’ was not capitalized, as if they were bestowing a name upon a united federation of states. To the contrary, these were the states of America, united in their determination to break their respective political bonds with Britain but not united in the sense of having somehow dissolved their various sovereignties into one.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I really enjoy reading Tom Wood's books. Government books give me a sadness though because I feel like what he is saying is true but we're so far from where we started it doesn't seem like there's a chance of going back that way. The second half of the book was political resolutions and proclamations from the past. He put them in there to prove his point that the states were originally treated as independent from the federal government and that nullification is a real thing and thought to be a l I really enjoy reading Tom Wood's books. Government books give me a sadness though because I feel like what he is saying is true but we're so far from where we started it doesn't seem like there's a chance of going back that way. The second half of the book was political resolutions and proclamations from the past. He put them in there to prove his point that the states were originally treated as independent from the federal government and that nullification is a real thing and thought to be a legitimate way to protest what the federal government was doing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Peyton

    Great commentary on the theories of "nullification" and its long history in the United States. "Nullification", in the eyes of both the anti federalists and the federalists, was the "norm" in the early days of our Republic, and under the right circumstances, continues to be used to fight federal tyranny well into the present day. Also, the inclusion of so many primary works in the book is a great plus (such as the Kentucky Resolutions and many more).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matt W

    I only read section I, but it is very good. Tom Woods has a very immersive, intelligent writing style. Section II is mostly a set of speeches and/or documents by our founding fathers that should be separately scored; therefore I did not read them or include them in my rating.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zach Larsen

    Book by a neoconfederate who wants slavery to make a comeback. (Really, it's a fantastic book about using ego-cases at the state level to stand up to ego-cases at the federal level. The last part of the book is just full primary documents which back up Wood's airtight case.)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    A building brick upon US Civil discourse that is necessary for every citizen to participate properly in democracy.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    In a game of word association, chances are that 'nullification' would not meet with flattering replies. Nullification is a word associated with the Civil War, or the Civil Rights movement, of the southern states blocking attempts at racial equality by insisting on their own right to declare a federal law unconstitutional, and thus null and void. But nullification has a richer and nobler history than its modern critics realize; in Nullification, Tom Woods explains the legal basis of the principle In a game of word association, chances are that 'nullification' would not meet with flattering replies. Nullification is a word associated with the Civil War, or the Civil Rights movement, of the southern states blocking attempts at racial equality by insisting on their own right to declare a federal law unconstitutional, and thus null and void. But nullification has a richer and nobler history than its modern critics realize; in Nullification, Tom Woods explains the legal basis of the principle, demonstrates its use throughout early American history, and points out areas in which the states have adopted it as a tool today. Nullification's sanction, Woods argues, rests in the little-c constitution of the United States. Though today the fifty states may seem like mere departments of the national polity, in the beginning this was not so. The united States began life not as a nation, but an agreement between thirteen, and with specific purposes. Treaties from the period enumerate the individual states, demonstrating their primacy. If not the States, who may declare a given law unconstitutional? The Supreme Court has assumed that role ('judicial review'), but as part of the government, how can it be expected to police itself? The individual States, however, have existence without the national government, and it exists, or was supposed to have existed, as their handmaiden -- not the other way around. Theirs is the right to declare the actions of Congress, the President, and the Court unconstitutional -- but theirs is likewise the responsibility to create measures for frustrating the government's knavish tricks. This they have done, from as early as the Adams presidency til today. Nullification first came onto the scene after the Federalist congress put into effect the Alien and Sedition Acts, which made defaming the government and its officials a crime. (Defaming the government was, until the rise of baseball, the national sport, and especially loved by Jefferson, Hamilton, and their respective parties.) Straightaway governors began throwing up barriers to federal agents attempting to arrest mouthy citizens. They did the same when, during the Napoleonic Wars, President Jefferson imposed an embargo on Europe -- an embargo that might have driven American trade to its knees. The reality and the threat of nullification continued to force the hands of overambitious executives. Today, legislative sabotage continues as states decriminalize marijuana use even as the federal government continues to insist it's a no-no. Given that the US attorney general is now retreating from parts of the War on Drugs (starting with that odd habit of theirs of seizing property that has been declared guilty of participating in a crime), the principle seems just as potent. Nullification is a small book (~165 pages, not counting the documents appended to it), but is a very worthy introduction to compact theory, in which the States are legally superior and not subordinate to the national state. It's also a respectable attempt to rescue nullification from its historical taint, but loses some points given that Woods never squarely addresses the threatened use of it during the 1960s, maintaining only that nullification is a weapon that can be used unjustly as easily as it can be for justice. I was also hoping for other kinds of nullification to be covered (like jury nullification), but Woods focused only on formal measures by the States themselves. Altogether it's a solid intro to the subject, and I am all for throwing wrenches into the machinery. Related: The Liberty Amendments, Mark Levin, all of which aim to restore to the fifty states their original power over the central government. Posted by Stephen at 7:41 PM

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jack Hansen

    The purpose of this book is to stop federal lawlessness. The United States Constitution is subject to interpretation by men/women who dismantle the restraints instituted by our founding fathers. That interpretation leads with the claim that our Constitution is a living document that may change to suit society's progress. The result of this attitude, which is taught by our most prestigious institutes of higher learning, is a complete reversal of the document's intention, to prevent tyranny. Nulli The purpose of this book is to stop federal lawlessness. The United States Constitution is subject to interpretation by men/women who dismantle the restraints instituted by our founding fathers. That interpretation leads with the claim that our Constitution is a living document that may change to suit society's progress. The result of this attitude, which is taught by our most prestigious institutes of higher learning, is a complete reversal of the document's intention, to prevent tyranny. Nullification is the duty of every State and citizen to ignore any unconstitutional acts by the federal government; therefore, the federal government denies that Nullification is possible because it is not in the Constitution, spins the meaning of what is already written, or ignores the compact altogether. The process of changing any aspect of the Constitution is apparently too time consuming and/or revealing when the government desires to force its will upon America. This is usually done to profit those in power and control the rest of the population. Our founding fathers write the US Constitution with this in mind knowing that man, as the Bible teaches, is weak and a sinner; so he/she is susceptible to corruption. This is why the United States is a Republic ruled by laws and not by men. The debate concerns the power of each individual State, sovereignty, and the application of the United States Constitution, the law of the land. Resistance is staunch against Nullification because those profiting by ignoring it are in a position to remain powerful and so they mislead. Nullification is also information that fills the gap left by today's formal education of those who spend 12 years studying law in America. As Thomas E. Woods, Jr., points out, just bring up Nullification to the federal government and a history stemming from the inception of our country ensues. Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century is full of information that is suppressed today because it challenges our leaders' status. It is necessary to return to our roots to elect the quality leaders that have integrity and not just intelligence. Just intelligence produces arrogance and deceit when moral codes are legislated out of law and schools. The United States decline is a direct result of this Progressive fundamental change. Over time, the citizenry accept what the government says as the rule and, thus, unknowingly give their power away. States have become dependent on federal bail outs for one reason or another and this bequeath of wealth enslaves lest they are cut off from such funding. This book is full of quotes from some of our brightest men to ever tread on American soil. The style of writing is a bit daunting but the depth and meaning of the words are compelling. The Kentucky Resolution written in 1798 and supported by Virginia in 1799: "If those who administer the general government be permitted to transgress the limits fixed by that compact by a total disregard to the special delegations of power therein contained, annihilation of the State governments and the erection upon their ruins of a general consolidated government will be the inevitable consequence." The turning point is here and now. Nullification is the answer to avoid any radical vigilante movements or a revolution, what a totalitarian regime awaits so they can declare Marshall Law.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Skretvedt

    You'll know we've made good progress reclaiming the Republic when plural forms of denominating the United States return to common language. This helpful perspective illuminates how this a one time federation of States has devolved into a set of almost mere administrative districts of The State. "Cooperative Federalism" is what one clumsy-yet-slick YouTube channel called our present state of affairs (Crash Course, made possible with support from PBS). This book shows you how any such sense of feder You'll know we've made good progress reclaiming the Republic when plural forms of denominating the United States return to common language. This helpful perspective illuminates how this a one time federation of States has devolved into a set of almost mere administrative districts of The State. "Cooperative Federalism" is what one clumsy-yet-slick YouTube channel called our present state of affairs (Crash Course, made possible with support from PBS). This book shows you how any such sense of federalism as that is nonsensical and is no federalism at all, yet we (or the government) continue to use that term because not doing so would be to admit a bit too plainly that the Constitution stopped having any serious force at the root of our Republic almost since it got going, certainly after the Civil War, and ever more starkly so in the decades since then. This book shows that the path to restore the originally designed balance is not so hard to see, yet would still require courage and some difficult to manage sense of agreement among fellow States in order to see results. Herding cats, that would be. The book also shows that a big part of the problem for our present era is the distortion of our history that's taken place through the public education system's civics curriculum. It's a short walk to start sounding like a conspiracy theorist, and yet it needn't be any planned conspiracy that got us to this point...just simple step-wise expediency and time. The book offers a refreshing take at what it would be like swimming up that particular stream.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vladimir

    This books makes the argument that the united states is a compact between sovereign States, and State governments should nullify federal law exceeding the scope of the constitution by resisting enforcement. Historically, I agree. My problem with the book is that the causation is backwards. Nullification was an effect of the States being relatively powerful compared to the Federal government. The States were relatively powerful when the Federal government was new, poorly funded, and the majority o This books makes the argument that the united states is a compact between sovereign States, and State governments should nullify federal law exceeding the scope of the constitution by resisting enforcement. Historically, I agree. My problem with the book is that the causation is backwards. Nullification was an effect of the States being relatively powerful compared to the Federal government. The States were relatively powerful when the Federal government was new, poorly funded, and the majority of the population did not identify with it over their States. When states didn't like laws passed by a relatively weak federal government, states resisted. Now that the Federal government is powerful, nullification cannot cause a shift in the balance of State-Federal power. If such a shift occurs, nullification will be an indication and mechanism of it. For example, (to pick on one element of the federal government) if the officials and voters of a state decide the FDA is unconstitutional, then they might nullify the FDA by resisting enforcement of FDA rules on hospitals in the state. Nullification will be the effect, not the cause, of the FDA losing recognition as a lawful entity. Somebody who wishes for this to happen should focus on convincing others the FDA is invalid, as opposed to presupposing that the FDA is invalid and arguing that nullification is a proper response.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    Woods does a fantastic job detailing the history of the political doctrine of nullification--a legitimate and necessary tool that the States have the right (and responsibility) to wield in order to reign in the federal government's vast, unconstitutional expansion of power and authority in American life. The Supreme Court is not in fact the final arbiter of disputes about the Constitution. As it is a document that lays out very limited, enumerated powers for the federal government, how does it f Woods does a fantastic job detailing the history of the political doctrine of nullification--a legitimate and necessary tool that the States have the right (and responsibility) to wield in order to reign in the federal government's vast, unconstitutional expansion of power and authority in American life. The Supreme Court is not in fact the final arbiter of disputes about the Constitution. As it is a document that lays out very limited, enumerated powers for the federal government, how does it follow that a branch of that same government gets to rule on questions surrounding its own authority? No, the individual sovereign states have far more authority in this power relationship; the states created and authorized the fed and are in authority over it, not the other way around. Woods ably shows that when Congress acts outside of the very limited enumerated powers granted it by the Constitution, those laws are null and void--and states have a duty to resist them. Indeed, such is the path left to us now that the Supreme Court has ruled that there is effectively no limiting principle in the Constitution that would theoretically prevent Congress from imposing literally anything on us (as long as it's passed and enforced under its taxing authority!). This book was published shortly before the SCOTUS ruling, but it is fully relevant and unfortunately prescient.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Don

    The cover is the worst part of the book. The font and photo seem to be chosen to be inflammatory, and I was worried that it would feel like reading the transcripts of a conservative talk show. But the cover does not match the tone of most of the writing. Most of the book is well written. The topic is the proper understanding of the constitution, federal powers, and States' rights, as well as what remedies were suggested by various Framers for when the Federal government acts in an unconstitution The cover is the worst part of the book. The font and photo seem to be chosen to be inflammatory, and I was worried that it would feel like reading the transcripts of a conservative talk show. But the cover does not match the tone of most of the writing. Most of the book is well written. The topic is the proper understanding of the constitution, federal powers, and States' rights, as well as what remedies were suggested by various Framers for when the Federal government acts in an unconstitutional manner. The viewpoint is definitely non-neutral, but it's argued and supported well. Possible rebuttals are anticipated and considered. There is a bit of rant, mostly at the end, but I think the book is worth reading even by people who believe that they probably won't agree with all of the conclusions. The actual length of the text by the author is about 150 pages. The rest of the book is the full text of various primary sources that support Woods's interpretations, which include writings of Madison and Jefferson.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Walsh

    With Obama Care and Gun Control front and center in the news, this is truly a timely book. Thomas Woods clearly defines what Nullification is and what it is not. He takes us on a journey back in history and shows us all of the times that it was used to protect the citizens from the over-reach of the federal power. The author also confronts the misinformation of the liberals by showing how Nullification has been used to protect the rights of minorities rather than circumventing them. With example With Obama Care and Gun Control front and center in the news, this is truly a timely book. Thomas Woods clearly defines what Nullification is and what it is not. He takes us on a journey back in history and shows us all of the times that it was used to protect the citizens from the over-reach of the federal power. The author also confronts the misinformation of the liberals by showing how Nullification has been used to protect the rights of minorities rather than circumventing them. With example after example he explodes the widely held myth that the Supreme Court of the United States is the court of final appeal and demonstrates how the individual states and people are the final authority in our Constitutional Republic. We the People must defend ourselves against tyranny and Nullification is one of the tools in our arsenal. I thought the book was great! My only complaint is that the plethora of examples from history became monotonous.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bill Gordon

    Most people think a contested law makes its way through our court system, then, if necessary, goes to the Supreme Court for a final decision regarding the law's legality. But that's not the end of the process as envisioned by our Founders. Each individual state may declare a particular law unconstitutional and then refuse to adhere to that law. Read this fascinating book about the process known as nullification. You probably won't learn any of this in school because, as the author points out, it Most people think a contested law makes its way through our court system, then, if necessary, goes to the Supreme Court for a final decision regarding the law's legality. But that's not the end of the process as envisioned by our Founders. Each individual state may declare a particular law unconstitutional and then refuse to adhere to that law. Read this fascinating book about the process known as nullification. You probably won't learn any of this in school because, as the author points out, it isn't taught!

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