Principles of '98

The blog of Derek J. Sheriff. History and current events through the lens of 1798.


with 2 comments

Derek J. Sheriff is the editor for “The Principles of ’98” blog .  He is an ex-Green Beret turned liberty activist and the state coordinator for the Arizona chapter of the Tenth Amendment Center.   Also an official member of Oath Keepers and Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, Derek  lives in Phoenix and is a grateful follower of his Lord Jesus Christ and an equally grateful husband and father.

Derek J. Sheriff

Derek J. Sheriff

What are the Principles of ’98 you ask?

“The Principles of ’98” were expressed by then sitting vice president, Thomas Jefferson, when he authored what came to be called the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. The resolutions made the case that the federal government is a creature of the states and that states have the authority to judge the constitutionality of the federal government’s laws and decrees. He also argued that states should refuse to enforce laws which they deemed unconstitutional.

James Madison wrote a similar resolution for Virginia shortly thereafter, in which he asserted that whenever the federal government usurps a power which is reserved to the states or to the people and begins to oppress the citizens of a state, that state’s legislature is duty bound to interpose or prevent the federal government from victimizing its people. Very similar to Jefferson’s concept of nullification, Madison’s doctrine of interposition differed in some small but important ways.

These two documents together came to be known as The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (or Resolves), of 1798. Both were written in response to the dreaded Alien and Sedition Acts, and the phrase, “Principles of ’98” became shorthand for state sovereignty, nullification and/or interposition. Over time, “The Principles of ’98” would be invoked by many other states, many times for a variety of issues.

This blog is will examine both history and current events through the lens of the Principles of ’98. Thanks for reading!


Written by Derek Sheriff

February 19, 2010 at 11:12 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Derek,

    Very well-written site. I have studied all this stuff in the past, but it is refreshing to read it now, in a present context. Very well done.

    I just moved to Scottsdale, from NH, where I was very active in the states’ rights movement there (which was suffering from extreme resistance, mostly from the transplants from MA).

    I’d like to join in with the momentum here in Arizona. How can I help?

    Best regards,
    Jonathan D. Linscott
    American by birth – Arizonan by choice


    April 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm

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