Virginia and State Rights, 1750–1861

The Genesis and Promotion of a Doctrine


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About the Book

While most historical studies merely scratch the surface of antebellum state rights and treat the doctrine as just one of many differences between the North and South, this book focuses exclusively on state rights from colonial to Civil War times. It looks particularly at Virginia, examining how the concept of state rights became the backbone of the Old Dominion’s understanding of the Union for at least seven decades. Part One looks at Virginia’s ideological attitudes toward state rights, revealing how and why state rights Antifederalists recoiled from the expansive tendencies of central government power during the Constitutional debate and the Virginia ratification convention. Part Two examines the methodologies employed to maintain the currency of state rights in the face of nationalist threats to a southern interpretation of liberty by examining documents and essays by luminaries such as James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Spencer Roane, Abel Upshur, and Littleton Tazewell.

About the Author(s)

The late Charles Pinnegar was an author and retired teacher and lived in Ontario, Canada.

Bibliographic Details

Charles Pinnegar

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4394-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5388-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. Revolutionary Era Factors Influencing Virginia’s Gravitation Toward State Rights      7
2. The People’s Preratification Estimate of the Constitution      24
3. The Virginia Ratification Convention—Issues Connected to Government      52
4. The Virginia Ratification Convention—Constitutional Powers and Rights      77
5. Government on Trial—National Policies and the State Rights Reaction      97

6. The Principles of ’98      127
7. Laying the Groundwork—Congressional Power and Slavery      153
8. The Nature of the Union—John Marshall vs. Spencer Roane      178
9. Andrew Jackson, Nullification, and the Nature of the Union      206
10. The Culmination of the State Rights Doctrines      227

Chapter Notes      251
Bibliography      265
Index      273

Book Reviews & Awards

“well-researched…a useful examination of Virginians’ contributions to state rights thought. Recommended”—Choice