As several sectional disagreements edged toward critical mass inClay was coping with rapidly advancing tuberculosis. Nevertheless, he returned to the U. He opposed any legislative plan that would address the problems that so agitated Northerners and Southerners, thus preventing Henry Clay from pushing ahead with another compromise plan that, he hoped, would settle the issue for at least a generation, as had the Missouri Compromise of The plan adopted by Congress had several parts:
The Constitution and the theory of nullification[ edit ] Provisions of the Constitution[ edit ] The Constitution does not contain any clause expressly providing that the states have the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional.
Supporters of nullification have argued that the states' power of nullification is inherent in the nature of the federal system.
They have argued that before the Constitution was ratified, the states essentially were separate nations. Under this theory, the Constitution is a contract, or " compact, " among the states by which the states delegated certain powers to the federal government, while reserving all other powers to themselves.
The states, as parties to the compact, retained the inherent right to judge compliance with the compact. According to supporters of nullification, if the states determine that the federal government has exceeded its delegated powers, the states may declare federal laws unconstitutional.
The courts have rejected the compact theory, finding that the Constitution was not a contract among the states. Rather, the Constitution was established directly by the people, as stated in the preamble: Under the Supremacy Clause of Article VIthe Constitution and federal laws made in pursuance thereof are "the supreme law of the land.
Federal laws are valid and are controlling, so long as those laws were adopted in pursuance of—that is, consistent with—the Constitution. Determining whether a federal law is consistent with the Constitution requires interpretation of the law, which is inherently a judicial function.
The federal judicial power granted by Article III of the Constitution gives the federal courts authority over all cases "arising under this Constitution [or] the laws of the United States. The courts therefore have held that the states do not have the power to nullify federal law.
On the other hand, the records of the Convention support the idea that the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional lies in the federal courts. At least fifteen Constitutional Convention delegates from nine states spoke about the power of the federal courts to declare federal laws unconstitutional.
For example, George Mason said that under the Constitution, federal judges "could declare an unconstitutional law void. Charles Pinckney referred to federal judges as "Umpires between the U. States and the individual States.
The records of the state ratifying conventions do not include any assertions that the states would have the power to nullify federal laws. It has been argued that certain statements in the Virginia ratifying convention, although not asserting a right of nullification, articulated a basis for the compact theory.
Edmund Randolph and George Nicholas stated that Virginia's ratification of the Constitution would constitute its agreement to a contract, and that if Virginia were to state its understanding at the time of ratification that the federal government could exercise only its delegated powers, this understanding would become part of the contract and would be binding on the federal government.
They would declare it void. To what quarter will you look for protection from an infringement on the Constitution, if you will not give the power to the judiciary? There is no other body that can afford such a protection. On the other hand, the records of these conventions support the idea that the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional lies in the federal courts.
On the contrary, they say that the power to declare laws unconstitutional concerning is delegated to federal courts, not the states. It explains that under the Constitution, this issue is to be decided by the Supreme Court, not the states: It is true that in controversies relating to the boundary between the two jurisdictions, the tribunal which is ultimately to decide, is to be established under the general [i.
Some such tribunal is clearly essential to prevent an appeal to the sword and a dissolution of the compact; and that it ought to be established under the general rather than under the local governments, or, to speak more properly, that it could be safely established under the first alone, is a position not likely to be combated.
According to Federalist No. The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions[ edit ] Main article: Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions The earliest assertion of the theories of nullification and interposition is found in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions ofwhich were a protest against the Alien and Sedition Acts.
In these resolutions, authors Thomas Jefferson and James Madison argued that "the states" have the right to interpret the Constitution and can declare federal laws unconstitutional when the federal government exceeds its delegated powers.
These resolutions are considered the foundational documents of the theories of nullification and interposition. The Kentucky Resolutions ofwritten by Jefferson, asserted that the states formed the Constitution as a compact, delegating certain specified powers to the federal government and reserving all other powers to themselves.
Each state, as a party to the compact, has a "right to judge for itself" the extent of the federal government's powers. When the federal government acts beyond the scope of its delegated powers, a state may determine that the federal government's "acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.
Rather, these resolutions declared that Kentucky "will bow to the laws of the Union" but would continue "to oppose in a constitutional manner" the Alien and Sedition Acts. The resolutions stated that Kentucky was entering its "solemn protest" against those Acts.At The History Place, an easy to use Timeline with many photos and interesting quotes.
General U.S. History Sites. Massachusetts Historical Society - The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) is an independent research library and manuscript repository.
Its holdings encompass millions of rare and unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of American history, many of them irreplaceable national treasures. By September, Clay's Compromise became law.
California was admitted to the Union as the 16th free state. In exchange, the south was guaranteed that no federal restrictions on slavery would be placed on Utah or New Mexico.
Matthew Pinsker gives a crash course on the Compromise of , the resolution to a dispute over slavery in territory gained after the Mexican-American War. Compromise of Compromise of , in U.S. history, a series of measures proposed by Sen. Henry Clay of Kentucky and passed by Congress in an effort to settle several outstanding slavery issues and to avert the threat of dissolution of the Union.
The Compromise of was a package of five separate bills passed by the United States Congress in September , which defused a four-year political confrontation between slave and free states on the status of territories acquired during the Mexican–American War (–).
The compromise, drafted by Whig Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky and brokered by Clay and Democratic Senator.