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Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  718 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Citizens across the country are fed up with the politicians in Washington telling us how to live our lives—and then sticking us with the bill. But what can we do? Actually, we can just say “no.” As New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, “nullification” allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws. For many tea partiers nationwide, nullif ...more
ebook, 309 pages
Published June 28th 2010 by Regnery Publishing (first published January 1st 2010)
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Douglas Wilson
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
This book was first-rate, and outlines about the only effective resistance strategy we have left.
John Maniscalco
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up because I was interested in the topic but I expected a rather sophomoric and bombastic argument for nullification. I could not have been more wrong.

Woods brilliantly and persuasively argues in support of nullification and its effectiveness in combating a federal government that seeks constant accumulation of powers not expressly designated to it by the Constitution. In a beautiful accounting of the compact theory of union Woods argues that it is the duty of states to interp
Jason Mccool
Is a federal government created by the states the only legitimate judge of it's own power? Is it a conflict of interest for the federal judiciary (i.e. the Supreme Court) to rule on the extent of the federal government's power when it conflicts with that of the states that made it? Is "States Rights" just an obscure rallying cry for wannabe rebels or was it an integral part of our founding, and a key component of the checks and balances designed to keep our federal government from becoming just ...more
Kenny Murphy
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
This is a wonderfully written book by Tom Woods about the history of nullification in the U.S. The process of "nullification", is when the states uphold the 10th Amendment, The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Thus, a unconstitutional law is not a law at all and the State has every right to not comply with the Federal government.

Woods discusses parts of the Constitution s
Darryl Perry
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been “fan” of Tom Woods since I first read The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. Since reading that book a few years ago, I’ve read more of Tom’s books; Who Killed the Constitution and Meltdown. I’ve had the chance to meet Tom, even having an interesting dinner with him, Adam Kokesh, Michael Maresco and about a dozen other active members of the “Freedom Movement.” Tom being the nice guy that he is, even contributed to a book I co-wrote and edited as a tribute to the Ron Pau ...more
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: state legislators, libertarians, fans of small government
I gave this book 5/5 stars not for the writing, but for the book's concept: a state's ability to declare an unconstitutional federal law null and void.

Woods cites as precedent the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and the Virginia Resolutions of 1799. These were issued by the state legislatures in response to President John Adams' Alien and Sedition Acts which, among other things, made it a crime to simply criticize the government.

Anyway, with that stage set, Woods expounds upon the Compact Theory of
J.A.A. Purves
Mr. Woods effectively sums up his respect for the U.S. Constitution by quoting famous American anarchist, Lysander Spooner, in the conclusion of his book on Nullification: "Lysander Spooner, abolitionist and anarchist, once said that the Constitution has either authorized the government we have now or has been helpless to prevent it. `In either case,' he starkly concluded, the Constitution `is unfit to exist.'" (pg 142)

With this book, Woods has finally just violently hurled himself out of mainst
Terrence Daugherty
I cannot think of another work that covers the idea of Nullification (and Secession) as well as this book by Tom Woods. He does a fine job at citation while avoiding conjecture. Each chapter is laden with history, but in such a concise manner so as to not overburden the reader. Each quote was relevant, and firmly supported Woods' premises encouraging the survival of Nullification principles. There need to be more up-to-date works on this topic, shown in a positive light, so as to stem the tide o ...more
David Robins
Sep 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great to have the argument for nullification so cogently presented, as well as the historical documents defending it as the second part of the volume. Very well synthesized by Dr. Woods; stayed well focused on topic, but also presented a few insights into libertarian natural rights and non-aggression philosophy.
Wil Roese
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Woods makes a strong historical case for the duty of state legislatures to nullify federal laws which they feel are unconstitutional. He also shows the Federal government derives its power from the states.
Dan Coats
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, history
This book is Tom Woods' best yet. It is historically rigorous and its prescription of the "rightful remedy" will continue to be relevant. Learn the history government schools will not teach you and read this book. Woods ends with Lord Byron: "Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow."
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book already being a giant fan of Dr. Woods, and was not disappointed by his latest offering. "Nullification" is a brilliant concept and its time has now come. Nullification is the exercise of state power with regard to interpreting the constitution. Relying on (and I think proving) that the constitution was based on a contract between the original 13 states and their agent the Federal Government, Nullification argues that the States, as an equal party in the federal compact, have a ...more
Jul 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, the cover art is a horrible choice and a great disservice to the content within. This book is not a partisan, petulant, whining attack of one political party against another. Instead, you can expect a clear, well-documented overview of aspects of governance in America, particularly:

*A defense of the 9th and 10th Amendments of the constitution
*A questioning look at what happens when there is a dispute between a state government and the federal government over distribution of powers - and a
The American Conservative
'Nullification is a brief book in terms of original authorial content, but what’s here is wonderful. Woods is a scholar, yet his writing style is accessible, with just the right amount of punch. He sets forth the case for nullification with logic and nuance but in a conversational tone.'

Read the full review, "Know Your States' Rights," on our website:
David Afton
Much of this book was great, but I almost always love Tom Woods' books. It did slow down in places, especially where whole pages were swathed with passages lifted wholesale from 200 year-old text---relevant and useful, to be sure, but I would prefer he paraphrase, modernize and add his take. But on the whole, it was a revelation, to understand the logic and basis for State Nullification and its corollary, Interposition. He makes an excellent, step-by-step case, for why the States, as members of ...more
I really enjoy reading Tom Wood's books. Government books give me a sadness though because I feel like what he is saying is true but we're so far from where we started it doesn't seem like there's a chance of going back that way. The second half of the book was political resolutions and proclamations from the past. He put them in there to prove his point that the states were originally treated as independent from the federal government and that nullification is a real thing and thought to be a l ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great commentary on the theories of "nullification" and its long history in the United States. "Nullification", in the eyes of both the anti federalists and the federalists, was the "norm" in the early days of our Republic, and under the right circumstances, continues to be used to fight federal tyranny well into the present day. Also, the inclusion of so many primary works in the book is a great plus (such as the Kentucky Resolutions and many more).
Matt Wyzykowski
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I only read section I, but it is very good. Tom Woods has a very immersive, intelligent writing style. Section II is mostly a set of speeches and/or documents by our founding fathers that should be separately scored; therefore I did not read them or include them in my rating.
In a game of word association, chances are that 'nullification' would not meet with flattering replies. Nullification is a word associated with the Civil War, or the Civil Rights movement, of the southern states blocking attempts at racial equality by insisting on their own right to declare a federal law unconstitutional, and thus null and void. But nullification has a richer and nobler history than its modern critics realize; in Nullification, Tom Woods explains the legal basis of the principle ...more
Jack Hansen
The purpose of this book is to stop federal lawlessness. The United States Constitution is subject to interpretation by men/women who dismantle the restraints instituted by our founding fathers. That interpretation leads with the claim that our Constitution is a living document that may change to suit society's progress. The result of this attitude, which is taught by our most prestigious institutes of higher learning, is a complete reversal of the document's intention, to prevent tyranny.

Andrew Skretvedt
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All U.S. persons
You'll know we've made good progress reclaiming the Republic when plural forms of denominating the United States return to common language. This helpful perspective illuminates how this a one time federation of States has devolved into a set of almost mere administrative districts of The State.

"Cooperative Federalism" is what one clumsy-yet-slick YouTube channel called our present state of affairs (Crash Course, made possible with support from PBS).

This book shows you how any such sense of feder
This books makes the argument that the united states is a compact between sovereign States, and State governments should nullify federal law exceeding the scope of the constitution by resisting enforcement.

Historically, I agree. My problem with the book is that the causation is backwards.

Nullification was an effect of the States being relatively powerful compared to the Federal government. The States were relatively powerful when the Federal government was new, poorly funded, and the majority o
Woods does a fantastic job detailing the history of the political doctrine of nullification--a legitimate and necessary tool that the States have the right (and responsibility) to wield in order to reign in the federal government's vast, unconstitutional expansion of power and authority in American life. The Supreme Court is not in fact the final arbiter of disputes about the Constitution. As it is a document that lays out very limited, enumerated powers for the federal government, how does it f ...more
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover is the worst part of the book. The font and photo seem to be chosen to be inflammatory, and I was worried that it would feel like reading the transcripts of a conservative talk show. But the cover does not match the tone of most of the writing.

Most of the book is well written. The topic is the proper understanding of the constitution, federal powers, and States' rights, as well as what remedies were suggested by various Framers for when the Federal government acts in an unconstitution
Thomas Walsh
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
With Obama Care and Gun Control front and center in the news, this is truly a timely book. Thomas Woods clearly defines what Nullification is and what it is not. He takes us on a journey back in history and shows us all of the times that it was used to protect the citizens from the over-reach of the federal power. The author also confronts the misinformation of the liberals by showing how Nullification has been used to protect the rights of minorities rather than circumventing them. With example ...more
Bill Gordon
Sep 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most people think a contested law makes its way through our court system, then, if necessary, goes to the Supreme Court for a final decision regarding the law's legality. But that's not the end of the process as envisioned by our Founders. Each individual state may declare a particular law unconstitutional and then refuse to adhere to that law. Read this fascinating book about the process known as nullification. You probably won't learn any of this in school because, as the author points out, it ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was quite a compelling book, and I highly recommend it. The author leads the reader through a logical understanding of the arguments behind the American Revolution, the creation of the Constitution, and the ratification of the Constitution by the Several States. In particular, he focuses on the Principles of 1798, and talks frankly about a history that, I imagine, many Americans do not know, and, most assuredly, they did not learn in school or college. I will definitely keep this book to re ...more
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Once again, Woods delivers! This book was very well thought out and the arguments very persuasive. Woods quotes the framers of the constitution, among other to make the case for nullification. He explains that the ideas of nullification were very much in the mainstream in early America, and makes the case that these ideas are a useful defense against an overreaching federal government in modern times.
Brian Leach
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political
Good primer for those unfamiliar with the subject. I wish the book would have been identified as such before I bought it. Most of the book is an extremely boring read and entire chapters are verbatim reproductions of 18th/19th century "legalese."

If you've never heard of the Kentucky/Virginia resolutions and still think the Civil War was fought to free the slaves then I would highly recommend this book. Hardcore, well-versed libertarians shouldn't waste their time.
Travis Reno
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is filled with evidence of how the framers of the Constitution "intended" for the federal government to be weak, and the states to have the power. Ok, I get it! Were way off the path that was laid out by the founding fathers. I'm a constitutional conservative, but the question that goes unanswered, and is perhaps uninsurable is "what is so special about those men that the constructed th best possible form of government?"
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Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is a senior fellow of the Mises Institute and host of The Tom Woods Show, which releases a new episode every weekday. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard and his master’s, M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Woods has appeared on CNBC, MSNBC, FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, C-SPAN, and Bloomberg Television, among other outlets, and has been a ...more
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“Madison wrote in Federalist #41, “For what purpose could the enumeration of particulars be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power?” In 1792, he said: If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress.3” 0 likes
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