SAT Subject US History Practice Question 1002: Answer and Explanation
83. During the John Adams administration, the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
A. introduced the idea of nullification.
B. resolved the conflict over the Alien and Sedition Acts.
C. were supported by the Federalists.
D. were written by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.
E. were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Correct Answer: A
The idea of nullification was introduced in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. They were written by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, respectively, to oppose to the Alien and Sedition Acts. Jefferson contended that the states had entered into a compact forming the government and that when a federal law failed to satisfy the people of a state, that state had the right to declare the law "null and void." The theory of nullification became the basis of the South Carolina Exposition and Protest, written by John C. Calhoun in 1828, and of secession in 1860, although Jefferson did not intend that people would take the idea that far. The resolutions inflamed the conflict (B) over the Alien and Sedition Acts, because the Federalists (C) supported the Alien and Sedition Acts while the Democratic Republicans supported the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions. Hamilton did not participate in the writing of the resolutions (D). He supported stronger federal power, not state power. The Supreme Court (E) did not rule on the resolutions.