Chapter Thirteen: The Rise of a Mass Democracy
Tariff of AbominationsTariff of AbominationsTariff of AbominationsTariff of AbominationsWhile tariffs protected American industry against competition from Europeanmanufactured goods, they raised prices and invited retaliatory tariffs onAmerican agricultural exports to other countries.The middle states were historically supporters of protectionist tariffs. In the1820s, New Englanders such as Daniel Webster stopped supporting free tradein favor of tariffs, since New England was developing wool and textileindustries.1824: Congress increased general tariffs, but wool manufacturers wanted evenhigher tariffs. Jacksonites decided to promote a high-tariff bill, thinking itwould be defeated, hurting President Adams. However, it passed.Southerners, who would be hurt if other countries decided to put tariffs onagricultural exports from America, felt that tariffs were a bad thing. They also needed low prices, since they were heavy consumers of manufacturedgoods.Southerners believed that the tariff discriminated against them. While theNortheast, West, and Southwest were prospering, the Old South wasexperiencing problems.The tariff was a major issue that had underlying connections to slavery DenmarkDenmarkDenmarkDenmark VesVesVesVesey Rebellioney Rebellioney Rebellioney Rebellion1822: Freed slave Denmark Vesey led a failed slave rebellion in Charleston.The South was concerned that the federal government might interfere withslavery, after the Missouri Compromise and news of the rebellion.South Carolina was aware that the British West Indies were being pressuredby Britain abolitionism
they felt that this abolitionist spirit might spread to theWashington government, who might suppress slavery in the South.As a result, the South decided to take a strong stand against all federalinterference with states’ rights to prepare for such an event.South Carolina Exposition and ProtestSouth Carolina Exposition and ProtestSouth Carolina Exposition and ProtestSouth Carolina Exposition and ProtestSouth Carolina took the lead in protesting against the “Tariff of Abominations.”In 1828, they published the
South Carolina Exposition
, secretly written by JohnC. Calhoun. This publication denounced the tariff as unconstitutional, proposingthat the states nullify the tariff.John C. CalhounJohn C. CalhounJohn C. CalhounJohn C. CalhounAs Vice President, Calhoun had to conceal his identity in the authorship of thepamphlet.He used to be a strong nationalist and Unionist, but reversed himself andbecame a prominent sectionalist in defense of the South and slavery.