In “The Rise of Nullification” in The American Conservative, Kirkpatrick Sale writes, “A state that wants to do things differently from the dictates of the federal government has to start by nullifying the laws it does not want to live under.” Mr. Sale is reviewing Most Likely To Secede by Rob Williams. Sale writes about “resistance to a federal government grown inept, corrupt, overreaching, overlarge, and overintrusive.” The book, according to Mr. Sale, “grows out of a secession movement in Vermont that has been active, off and on, for a decade now.” Sales tells readers, “Nullification acts have been introduced in state legislatures all across the country, particularly in the last few months.”
America’s original anti-federalists were against ratifying the Constitution without a bill of rights and believed most strongly in the primacy of the states. The anti-federalists believed that general government is subordinate to the state governments and that the essential business of government should be done by the states.
The original Articles of Confederation in the preamble wrote of a perpetual union between the States. Article II. notes that each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence. Above all, the anti-federalists wanted to protect the rights of the founding states against intrusion by a central government.
Kirkpatrick Sale asks, “If Vermont had been an independent republic all along, would you now vote for it to join the United States? Of course not. It would be unthinkable.”