James Madison Papers

James Madison: Notes on nullification and Thomas Jefferson’s writings, December 1830


All Govts. hitherto bad: either tending to despotism, or to anarchy & thro’ that to despotism. The expedt. of fedl. repub: aiming at a security agst both, merits a fair experiments, and the good wishes of all. [It h]as worked well as yet. It has controul’d the Genl Govt. thro the States, as in al: & sedn. laws, and the States when flying individually out of [thorn] yr. orbits have under the influence of this Govt. and the powers of others, States returned unto their regular paths—So mark: Kentucky Georgia, and—so it is hoped will S. Carolina

The wrong get right before the right get wrong. The silent controul of the Genl. Govt. has a great preventive effect in the absence of which individual States might go wrong witht. otherwise being aware of the propensity to do so.

For Mr. J—ns idea of the proper object of the Virga. Assembly in 1799, as to al. & Sed; laws see his letter to W. C. Nicholas vol. 3. p. 428: Secession not Nullification, the extreme resort: this subsequent to the paper as to that the rightful remedy—It must mean the same thing, or if not the last Se[ce]ssion, the material view. See. Vol. 3. p. 393-4-404

Vol. 3. p 430. "All agree that an election of Presid. Electors by district wd best if it could be general"

For reasons which put Hamilton in Irons at Williamsburg—see Vol. 1. p. 455

For Mr. Jns constitutional views—see Vol. 4 p 414-420

also. 391

for lex majoris partis [ ] Vol 2 111

Wd. have preferred leavg. direct taxation exclusively to the States, Vol. 2. p. 278

May 23.89 See Vol. 2. p 318-9 for change of opinion in favor of New York

for writings

For his opinion of the Fedst. see Vol. 2. p. 392 "as being in my opinion the best commentary on properties of Govt. which was ever written. In some parts it is discoverable that the author means only to say what may be best said in defence of opinions in which he did not concur. But in general it establishes firmly the plan of Govt. I confess it has rectified me on several points."

Vol 9. p. 121. Opinion of Mr. Jn as to Indian rights within State limits, & objections to protective power.

p. 310-11. As to size of Repub: "The smaller the societies, the more violent & more convulsive their schisms"

Vol. 4. p. 176-7-306 as to separation & rebellion

"every State acts entirely to raise the nation’s internal improvement" but modified agst. "abuse" marks his letter [to] JM p. . also p. 392 letter to E. Livingston more fully

Ms (DLC).

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