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The Nullification Crisis of 1832

The Nullification Crisis of 1832 is one of the first events in the chain of crises that would ultimately lead to the Civil War. Following the economic depression of the 1820s, the US government had passed several new tariffs, including the protectionist Tariff of 1828, called the “Tariff of Abominations.” South Carolina’s economy was especially hard hit by the tariff, and state politics began to revolve around the issue of whether a state could overrule the federal government. Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on The Nullification Crisis of 1832 that follows your guidelines.

The Nullification Crisis of 1832

The Nullification Crisis and Andrew Jackson

In 1828, Andrew Jackson was elected President, with John C. Calhoun of South Carolina as his Vice President. Southerners were dejected when Jackson failed to abolish the tariff. Calhoun had argued that the Tariff went against the Constitution, believing that it favored manufacturing over agricultural interests, and would resign as Vice President in order to fight the issue in Congress. Many South Carolina politicians began to call for a nullification of the tariff in the state. The idea of nullification meant that a state could essentially veto the federal government. The Tariff of 1832 only increased South Carolina’s opposition and the popularity of nullification on the state level.

Indeed, Nullification, as outlined by Calhoun, is one of the highest forms of patriotism.  It serves the following:

  1. Ensures the protection of the citizenry
  2. Acts as the ultimate authority in checking abuses of the Federal government
  3. The height of patriotism, for Calhoun, was defending the people of South Carolina, and thus all Americans, from the unrestrained abuse of unlimited power

The Nullification Crisis and The Military

In November 1832, a Nullification Convention met and declared that the Tariffs would not be enforced in South Carolina and that attempts at enforcement would lead to secession. President Jackson’s response was to threaten military action against the state. South Carolina backed down. Jackson himself later said that the tariff was just an excuse for disunion and the formation of a Southern Confederacy, and that their next excuse would be slavery.

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