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Jimmie Hill A.P U.S History Mr. Peterson 9/19/12 Nullification Crisis/ John C. Calhoun In 1828, John C. Calhoun had began the protracted Nullification Crisis by asserting the constitutional right of states to nullify national laws that were harmful to their interests. The Nullification Crisis had a major impact on the United States. Congress passed a tariff to protect the northern manufacturers and businessmen. Southerners thought that the industrialization of the north would lead to the downfall of the southern economy. They named the tariff the Tariff of Abominations. Vice-president John C. Calhoun of South Carolina led the movement of people who thought that a combined geographical interest should not be able to disregard the general welfare and the local interest should not be able to disregard the general welfare and turn an important local interest to its own profit. Calhoun did not agree the secession of South Carolina so he tried to think of a substitute. His idea was nullification. Calhoun viewed nullification as the right of a single state to veto, within its own borders, a federal law that it deemed unconstitutional subject to the later approval of at least one fourth of the states. If such approval was not forthcoming, the state should, if it wished, be allowed to secede from the Union. The South knew that nowhere in the constitution did it give Congress the right to simply protect industry. President Andrew Jackson was forced to confront the state of South Carolina on the issue of the protective tariff. Business and farming interest in the state had hoped that Jackson would use his presidential power to modify tariff laws that they had disagreed with. To the South, all the benefits of

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protection were going to Northern manufacturers, and while the country as a whole grew richer, South Carolina grew poorer because the planters had to pay higher prices. The president asked Congress to lower the tariffs, to make the South happy. Congress carried out this request, but it was not enough for South Carolina. South Carolina passed an ordinance which declared the tariff laws of 1828 and 1832 null and void in that state. They threatened to leave the Union if the federal government tried to enforce the tariff laws anywhere in South Carolina. President Jackson warned the people that the laws would be enforced. Jackson stated that to annul a law was incompatible with the existence of the Union, and to say that any State may at pleasure secede . . . is to say that the United States is not a nation. He meant that nullification or secession would be an act of war. The President declared that the act to nullify would be on the brink of insurrection and treason.

The nullification crisis of the early 1800s is significant to our United States history. In 1828 and 1832, the federal government wanted to enforce tariffs that South Carolina citizens thought were unconstitutional. The tariffs would rise from 15 percent to 50 percent all in favor of the northern manufactures. These tariffs became known as Tariffs of Abomination. President Andrew Jackson signed these tariffs into law and the citizens of South Carolina endorsed their states rights with the Ordinance of Nullification. However despite all these issues and separation between the North and South, Jackson and Calhoun, the union vigorously tried to preserve its unity. Eventually, the idea of nullification by John C. Calhoun would bring about the Civil War and divide our nation in two.