KC Johnson

Midterm ID’s, Model Answers

Chisholm v. Georgia

This case was in reference to payment of Revolutionary War debt by the state of Georgia. Chisholm sued over failure to repay. Georgia claiming sovereign immunity did not appear at proceedings. Chief Justice Marshall in his ruling stated that the Court abrogated this right of sovereign immunity the ruling sparked outrage in GA with the governor threatening death on anyone attempting to collect the debt. The ruling also led to the 11th amendment which prohibited suits against states with the federal government as the arbiter.

Virginia Resolution

This was a piece of legislation put forward in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts. It claimed the Constitution was a compact between the states, and that the federal government had only limited power expressly stated. When the federal government oversteps those powers, a state may not follow this rule. The VA Resolution was the beginnings of the idea that a single state cannot follow the federal law. It was however concurrent with the amendment procedure of Article V, because it was simply a resolution, not law, and also submitted to the state legislatures in order to achieve the necessary ¾ for an amendment.

Berea College v. Kentucky

This Supreme Court case from the early 1900s was significant in its impact on instituting school segregation throughout the state of Kentucky for both public and private schools. Berea College was a private school which, from its conception in 1855, had accepted both blacks and whites. But with the passing of Kentucky’s “Day Law,” it was forced to stop accepting black students into the institution. The college argued against the state’s “Day Law” and the case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the state. Effectively soon after, all KY schools were forced to segregate their students.

Collamer amendment

An amendment added to Buchanan’s attempt to circumvent the Constitution and give him authority and power over foreign affairs without congressional oversight. The amendment was added to a resolution that would have given Buchanan unilateral authority to deal with Paraguay. If successful, it would have set up dangerous precedent for presidential power. The amendment introduced in the Senate would have stripped Buchanan of warmaking powers. As such, he would not be able to wage war on Paraguay without congressional approval. The amendment ultimately was defeated but the damage was done. Buchanan promised not to use force when dealing with Par’y.


New York anti-Federalist (who wrote under a pseudonym) that expressed fears concerning the Constitution. Brutus feared that the Constitution made the federal government too powerful, and would lead to creation of a standing army, even in peacetime. He feared that the military would be under the control of the President and would become his personal army. (His fears have seemed to come true.) He also feared the power of the judiciary. Noted that judges would have lifetime appointment and would not be controlled by anyone.

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