These two separate documents, one by Thomas Jefferson and the other written by James Madison, tried to address the concern that the federal government was overstepping its boundaries on occasion and if it should do so then their authority no longer was legitimate. The documents were written secretly and it was not known that Thomas Jefferson who was at the time the Vice-President of the United States wrote one and collaborated on the second.
The resolutions were drawn up for these areas but not by the states, and many other states reacted very negatively to the suggestions within both resolutions. In fact, Alexander Hamilton wanted to send an army into Virginia on a pretext of testing defenses and quell any possible insurgency. This was quickly a very serious matter which had to be addressed before it got out of hand, and especially before there was bloodshed. Although they did not pass even years after they were published, they nonetheless remained a reminder for many well into Lincoln’s presidency. The sometimes oppressive views of legislation from the government can at times be both unfair and unjust.
Later on when Jefferson decided to run for the Presidency, he used the documents publicly as part of his campaign. However, the Constitution was held by many as a binding agreement and was upheld through many presidencies. The point of the resolutions was to prevent a government from having too much power and to remind individuals and states that it had both the right and duty to stand up and say when the bounds of a government had stepped over a line. Although it was poorly received at the time, many did hold this in their hearts especially as many lines of the constitution reflected similar philosophical beliefs.