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Customer Review

26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're serious about smaller government, read this book., June 28, 2010
This review is from: Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century (Hardcover)
There have been so many conservative and libertarian books complaining about how Congress has exceeded its constitutional powers and the federal government has grown far beyond what the Founding Fathers ever intended.

This one is different: It actually shows how we could do something about it.

First, Woods shows why the usual methods don't work. Electing new Senators and Representatives doesn't work because no matter what politicians promise, they always end up caving to special interests. Trying to get the Supreme Court to strike down unconstitutional laws doesn't work, either, because the judicial branch is part of the very federal government we want to restrain, and it's shown again and again that it won't respect the Constitution's (supposed) limits on federal power.

Next, Woods explains the alternative: nullification, whereby individual states can declare unconstitutional laws null and void and prevent their enforcement against the state's citizens.

Although that idea may be new to many readers (most civics teachers, historians, and law professors completely ignore it), Woods shows that it is not new at all. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and many others in the founding era thought nullification was essential to stop the federal government from growing out of control. And Woods shows how nullification has been used at various times in American history to attack oppressive federal laws, including the Alien and Sedition Acts and the Fugitive Slave Act.

Most importantly, Woods shows how nullification can work again today. Some states are already starting to revive it -- for example, California has said no to the federal government (even the Supreme Court!) on the issue of medical marijuana, and many states have said no to the federal REAL ID Act.

The numerous historical documents included with the book prove the importance of nullification in American history and provide additional ammunition you can use to make the case to others.

This isn't a dry work of history or legal theory, though. It's a manual for how we could shrink the federal government to something much closer to what the people who ratified the Constitution intended. That means Tea Partiers, libertarians, and anyone else who is serious about seeking real change -- instead of just playing the same old rigged political game -- should read this book.
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Initial post: Nov 17, 2010, 6:41:15 PM PST
I have thought for some while now that the federal government is simply too big. Government "of, by, and for the people" (one of Lincoln's better ideas) can only work when that government is small enough to be answerable to The People. States are just about the right size for this. The federal government has become a behemoth inserting its authority into every fact of our individual lives. That's just what it does. It can't help it! That's why the Founders set up the government the way they did. It isn't their fault that the Constitution isn't being followed for goodness' sake!
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