Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 1.djvu/216

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mouth they sounded less familiar, and certain phrases seemed even out of place.

Among the cardinal points of republicanism thus proclaimed to the world was one in particular, which as a maxim of government seemed to contradict cherished convictions and the fixed practice of the Republican party. "Absolute acquiescence" was required "in the decisions of the majority,—the vital principle of republics, from which there is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism." No principle was so thoroughly entwined in the roots of Virginia republicanism as that which affirmed the worthlessness of decisions made by a majority of the United States, either as a nation or a confederacy, in matters which concerned the exercise of doubtful powers. Not three years had passed since Jefferson himself penned the draft of the Kentucky Resolutions, in which he declared[1] "that in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the general government being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the Constitutional remedy; but where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy; that every State has a natural right, in cases not within the compact, to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits; that without this right they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of

  1. Jefferson's Works, ix. 469.