Extract: Jefferson’s Fair Copy, [4 October 1798]


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…Resolved that the several states composing the US. 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 US. 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; & that whensoever the General government assumes undelegated powers, it’s acts are unauthoritative, void, & of no1 force: that to this compact each state acceded as a state, and is an integral party, it’s 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 it’s discretion, & not the constitution, the measure of it’s 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 & measure of redress.

…Resolved that it is true as a general principle, and is also expressly declared by one of the Amendments to the Constitution that ‘the powers not delegated to the US. by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively or to the people’; and that no power over the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press being delegated to the US. by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, all lawful powers respecting the same did of right remain, & were reserved, to the states or the people: that thus was manifested their determination to retain to themselves the right of judging how far the licentiousness of speech & of the press may be abridged without lessening their useful freedom, and how far those abuses which cannot be separated from their use should be tolerated rather than the use be destroyed; and thus also they guarded against all abridgment by the US. of the freedom of religious opinions and exercises, & retained to themselves the right of protecting the same, as this state, by a law passed on the general demand of it’s citizens, had already protected them from all human restraint or interference

Full transcript available at Founders Online