Evidence on the Powers the Constitution Leaves Exclusively to the States

The Constitution enumerates the powers of the federal government. But has anyone listed the exclusive powers of states—the realm the federal government may not invade without violating the Constitution? When discussing state authority, the Founders usually pointed out only that the federal government’s powers were, as Madison said, “few and defined,” and that the states…

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The Union: Who Made It?

John Taylor, of Caroline County Virginia, was the preeminent theorist of Jeffersonian Old Republicanism. He was a strong advocate of individual and states rights in the face of the growing power of the federal government (“tyranny”) and opposed increased tariffs and mercantilist economic policy. Taylor was largely responsible for guiding the Virginia Resolution, written by James…

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Thomas Jefferson on the Misuse of the Commerce and General Welfare Clauses

Barely 8 months before he died, Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Virginia politician William Giles about the threat posed by the usurpation of states rights by a growing federal power. He identified federal powers claimed under the commerce and general welfare clauses as especially dangerous.

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