The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 had criminalized excessive criticism of government. Jefferson feared it would be used in a partisan way. The Acts violated the Tenth Amendment by encroaching on a state prerogative.
Jefferson’s moderate response was nullification – drafted in The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. Undelegated powers were not to be enforced. Madison’s Virginia Resolutions said the states had the right and were duty bound to interpose between the federal government and the state’s people. A law beyond the Constitution is no law at all.
Lecture 1 of 10 from Thomas Woods' The Truth About American History: An Austro-Jeffersonian Perspective.