CHAPTER XVIII. REACTION TOWARDS STATE SOVEREIGNTY (1816-1829)

From the close of the War of 1812, an increasing reaction was in progress in various states against the ardent nationalism which characterized the country at that time. The assertion of the doctrine of state sovereignty by the Hartford Convention in 1814 [Footnote: Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xv.] so aroused the other sections of the country that particularism was for the time discredited. Leaders of Virginia politics even approved a rumor that Madison would march troops against New England; Judge Roane, later a champion of Virginia's sovereignty, denounced the "anarchical principles" of the section. [Footnote: Randolph-Macon College, John P. Branch Hist. Papers, II., 18.] In that period, when Calhoun and the other leading statesmen of South Carolina supported the protective tariff and the bonus bill, when Madison, the author of the Virginia resolutions of 1798, signed the bill for the recharter of the national bank, when Chief-Justice Marshall, a son of Virginia, was welding firm the bonds of nationalism in his great series of decisions limiting the powers of the states and developing the doctrine of loose construction of the Constitution, [Footnote: Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xviii.] and when New England itself was explaining away the particularistic purposes of the Hartford Convention, it might well seem that the days of state sovereignty had come to an end.

Even then, however, the pendulum was starting to swing in the opposite direction. The crisis of 1819 and the decisions of the supreme court asserting the constitutionality of the national bank under the broad national conception of the Constitution, produced protests and even resistance from various states whose interests were most affected. Ohio in 1819 forcibly collected a tax on the branch bank of the United States, in defiance of Marshall's decision rendered earlier in the year in the case of McCulloch vs. Maryland; and in 1821 her legislature reaffirmed the doctrines of the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, and passed an act withdrawing the protection of the laws of the state from the national bank, [Footnote 2: Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 3, p. 5.] and even persisted in her resistance after the decision (Osborn vs. Bank of U. S., 1824) against the state. But the proceeds of the tax were ultimately restored. Nor was Ohio alone in her opposition to this decision. Kentucky was almost equally excited, and Senator R. M. Johnson made a vain attempt in 1821 to procure an amendment to the Constitution providing that in controversies in which a state was a party the Senate of the United States should have appellate jurisdiction. [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 17 Cong., I Sess., I., 23, 68, 96; Ames, State Docs., No. 3, p. 17; Ames, Amendments to the Const., in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1896, II., 161; Niles' Register, XVII., 289, 311, 447.] Judge Roane, chief-justice of Virginia, in a series of papers in the Richmond Enquirer, challenging the nationalistic reasoning of the court, asserted that the Constitution resulted from a compact between the states, [Footnote 2: Randolph- Macon College, John P. Branch Hist. Papers, II., 106-121.] and in this attack he was heartily supported by Jefferson. [Footnote 3: Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), X., 140, 189, 229.] Justice Marshall, in Cohens vs. Virginia [Footnote 4: 6 Wheaton, 264.] (1821), decided that the supreme court had appellate jurisdiction in a case decided by the state court where the Constitution and the laws of the United States were involved, even though a state was a party.