Nullification Crisis: American History for Kids ***
The role of Nullification Crisis in the history of the United States of America. The South Carolina passed an ordinance of nullification on November 24, , and The ordinance stated: And we, the people of South Carolina, to the end that it. The South Carolina Ordinance of Nullification was enacted into law on November 24, As far as South Carolina was concerned, there was no tariff. A line. I consider the tariff act as the occasion, in opposite relation to the majority of the they must in the end be forced to rebel, or, In November the Nullification.
I consider the tariff act as the occasion, rather than the real cause of the present unhappy state of things. The truth can no longer be disguised, that the peculiar domestick [sic] institution of the Southern States and the consequent direction which that and her soil have given to her industry, has placed them in regard to taxation and appropriations in opposite relation to the majority of the Union, against the danger of which, if there be no protective power in the reserved rights of the states they must in the end be forced to rebel, or, submit to have their paramount interests sacrificed, their domestic institutions subordinated by Colonization and other schemes, and themselves and children reduced to wretchedness.
Unlike state political organizations in the past, which were led by the South Carolina planter aristocracy, this group appealed to all segments of the population, including non-slaveholder farmers, small slaveholders, and the Charleston non-agricultural class. Governor Hamilton was instrumental in seeing that the association, which was both a political and a social organization, expanded throughout the state. In the winter of and spring ofthe governor held conventions and rallies throughout the state to mobilize the nullification movement.
The conservatives were unable to match the radicals in either organization or leadership. The nullifiers won and on October 20,Governor Hamilton called the legislature into a special session to consider a convention. The legislative vote was in the House and in the Senate  In November the Nullification Convention met. The convention declared that the tariffs of and were unconstitutional and unenforceable within the state of South Carolina after February 1, They said that attempts to use force to collect the taxes would lead to the state's secession.
Robert Haynewho followed Hamilton as governor inestablished a 2,man group of mounted minutemen and 25, infantry who would march to Charleston in the event of a military conflict. To avoid conflicts with Unionists, it allowed importers to pay the tariff if they so desired. Other merchants could pay the tariff by obtaining a paper tariff bond from the customs officer. They would then refuse to pay the bond when due, and if the customs official seized the goods, the merchant would file for a writ of replevin to recover the goods in state court.
Customs officials who refused to return the goods by placing them under the protection of federal troops would be civilly liable for twice the value of the goods. To insure that state officials and judges supported the law, a "test oath" would be required for all new state officials, binding them to support the ordinance of nullification. If the sacred soil of Carolina should be polluted by the footsteps of an invader, or be stained with the blood of her citizens, shed in defense, I trust in Almighty God that no son of hers … who has been nourished at her bosom … will be found raising a parricidal arm against our common mother.
And even should she stand ALONE in this great struggle for constitutional liberty … that there will not be found, in the wider limits of the state, one recreant son who will not fly to the rescue, and be ready to lay down his life in her defense. While he may have abandoned some of his earlier beliefs that had allowed him to vote for the Tariff ofhe still felt protectionism was justified for products essential to military preparedness and did not believe that the current tariff should be reduced until the national debt was fully paid off.
He addressed the issue in his inaugural address and his first three messages to Congress, but offered no specific relief. In Decemberwith the proponents of nullification in South Carolina gaining momentum, Jackson was recommending "the exercise of that spirit of concession and conciliation which has distinguished the friends of our Union in all great emergencies. Calhoun's "Exposition and Protest" did start a national debate over the doctrine of nullification. These people rejected the compact theory advanced by Calhoun, claiming that the Constitution was the product of the people, not the states.
According to the nationalist position, the Supreme Court had the final say on the constitutionality of legislation, the national union was perpetual and had supreme authority over individual states. While Calhoun's "Exposition" claimed that nullification was based on the reasoning behind the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, an aging James Madison in an August 28, letter to Edward Everettintended for publication, disagreed. Madison wrote, denying that any individual state could alter the compact: That the 7 might, in particular instances be right and the 17 wrong, is more than possible.
Healy Part of the South's strategy to force repeal of the tariff was to arrange an alliance with the West. Under the plan, the South would support the West's demand for free lands in the public domain if the West would support repeal of the tariff.
With this purpose Robert Hayne took the floor on the Senate in earlythus beginning "the most celebrated debate, in the Senate's history. Webster's position differed from Madison's: Webster asserted that the people of the United States acted as one aggregate body, Madison held that the people of the several states had acted collectively.
John Rowan spoke against Webster on that issue, and Madison wrote, congratulating Webster, but explaining his own position. However once the debate shifted to secession and nullification, Jackson sided with Webster.
On April 13, at the traditional Democratic Party celebration honoring Thomas Jefferson's birthday, Jackson chose to make his position clear.
It must be preserved. Calhoun would respond with his own toast, in a play on Webster's closing remarks in the earlier debate, "The Union. Next to our liberty, the most dear.
Through their agency the Union was established. The patriotic spirit from which they emanated will forever sustain it. Yes I have; please give my compliments to my friends in your State and say to them, that if a single drop of blood shall be shed there in opposition to the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man I can lay my hand on engaged in such treasonable conduct, upon the first tree I can reach.
In May Jackson vetoed the Maysville Road Bill an important internal improvements program especially to Kentucky and Henry Clayand then followed this with additional vetoes of other such projects shortly before Congress adjourned at the end of May. Clay would use these vetoes to launch his presidential campaign.
This issue was featured at the December National Republican convention in Baltimore which nominated Henry Clay for president, and the proposal to re-charter was formally introduced into Congress on January 6, In an effort to reach out to John Calhoun and other southerners, Clay's proposal provided for a ten million dollar revenue reduction based on the amount of budget surplus he anticipated for the coming year.
Significant protection was still part of the plan as the reduction primarily came on those imports not in competition with domestic producers. John Quincy Adams, now in the House of Representatives, used his Committee of Manufacturers to produce a compromise bill that, in its final form, reduced revenues by five million dollars, lowered duties on non-competitive products, and retained high tariffs on woolens, iron, and cotton products. In the course of the political maneuvering, George McDuffie's Ways and Means Committeethe normal originator of such bills, prepared a bill with drastic reduction across the board.
McDuffie's bill went nowhere. Jackson signed the Tariff of on July 14,a few days after he vetoed the Bank of the United States re-charter bill. Congress adjourned after it failed to override Jackson's veto.
The Nullification crisis (article) | Khan Academy
The nullifiers found no significant compromise in the Tariff of and acted accordingly see the above section. Jackson heard rumors of efforts to subvert members of the army and navy in Charleston and he ordered the secretaries of the army and navy to begin rotating troops and officers based on their loyalty. He ordered General Winfield Scott to prepare for military operations and ordered a naval squadron in Norfolk to prepare to go to Charleston. Petigru and sent George Breathitt, brother of the Kentucky governorto independently obtain political and military intelligence.
After their defeat at the polls in October, Petigru advised Jackson that he should " Be prepared to hear very shortly of a State Convention and an act of Nullification. The attempt will be made to surprise the Forts and garrisons by the militia, and must be guarded against with vestal vigilance and any attempt by force repelled with prompt and exemplary punishment.
By mid-November Jackson's reelection was assured. The message "was stridently states' rights and agrarian in its tone and thrust" and he disavowed protection as anything other than a temporary expedient. The paragraph in the message that addressed nullification was: It is my painful duty to state that in one quarter of the United States opposition to the revenue laws has arisen to a height which threatens to thwart their execution, if not to endanger the integrity of the Union.
What ever obstructions may be thrown in the way of the judicial authorities of the General Government, it is hoped they will be able peaceably to overcome them by the prudence of their own officers and the patriotism of the people. But should this reasonable reliance on the moderation and good sense of all portions of our fellow citizens be disappointed, it is believed that the laws themselves are fully adequate to the suppression of such attempts as may be immediately made.
Should the exigency arise rendering the execution of the existing laws impracticable from any cause what ever, prompt notice of it will be given to Congress, with a suggestion of such views and measures as may be deemed necessary to meet it. I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which It was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.
A group of Democrats, led by Van Buren and Thomas Hart Benton among others, saw the only solution to the crisis in a substantial reduction of the tariff.
Negotiation and Confrontation [ edit ] In apparent contradiction of his previous claim that the tariff could be enforced with existing laws, on January 16 Jackson sent his Force Bill Message to Congress.
The Nullification Crisis | Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Custom houses in Beaufort and Georgetown would be closed and replaced by ships located at each port. Direct payment rather than bonds would be required, and federal jails would be established for violators that the state refused to arrest and all cases arising under the state's nullification act could be removed to the United States Circuit Court. In the most controversial part, the militia acts of and would be revised to permit the enforcement of the custom laws by both the militia and the regular United States military.
Attempts were made in South Carolina to shift the debate away from nullification by focusing instead on the proposed enforcement. On January 28 the Senate defeated a motion by a vote of 30 to 15 to postpone debate on the bill.
All but two of the votes to delay were from the lower South and only three from this section voted against the motion. This did not signal any increased support for nullification but did signify doubts about enforcement. In order to draw more votes, proposals were made to limit the duration of the coercive powers and restrict the use of force to suppressing, rather than preventing, civil disorder. In the House the Judiciary Committee, in a vote, rejected Jackson's request to use force.
By the time Calhoun made a major speech on February 15 strongly opposing it, the Force Bill was temporarily stalled. Debate on the committee's product on the House floor began in January The Verplanck tariff proposed reductions back to the levels over the course of the next two years while maintaining the basic principle of protectionism.
The anti-Jackson protectionists saw this as an economic disaster that did not allow the Tariff of to even be tested and "an undignified truckling to the menaces and blustering of South Carolina. Those sympathetic to the nullifiers wanted a specific abandonment of the principle of protectionism and were willing to offer a longer transition period as a bargaining point.
It was clear that the Verplanck tariff was not going to be implemented. Governor Hayne ordered the 25, troops he had created to train at home rather than gathering in Charleston. At a mass meeting in Charleston on January 21, it was decided to postpone the February 1 deadline for implementing nullification while Congress worked on a compromise tariff. At the same time a commissioner from Virginia, Benjamin Watkins Leigharrived in Charleston bearing resolutions that criticized both Jackson and the nullifiers and offering his state as a mediator.
His long term concern was that Jackson eventually was determined to kill protectionism along with the American Plan. In February, after consulting with manufacturers and sugar interests in Louisiana who favored protection for the sugar industry, Clay started to work on a specific compromise plan.
After first securing the support of his protectionist base, Clay, through an intermediary, broached the subject with Calhoun. Calhoun was receptive and after a private meeting with Clay at Clay's boardinghouse, negotiations preceded. Clayton of Delaware, and Calhoun. On February 21 the committee reported a bill to the floor of the Senate which was largely the original bill proposed by Clay.
Protectionism as a principle was not abandoned and provisions were made for raising the tariff if national interests demanded it. In his February 25 speech ending the debate on the tariff, Clay captured the spirit of the voices for compromise by condemning Jackson's Proclamation to South Carolina as inflammatory, admitting the same problem with the Force Bill but indicating its necessity, and praising the Compromise Tariff as the final measure to restore balance, promote the rule of law, and avoid the "sacked cities," "desolated fields," and "smoking ruins" that he said would be the product of the failure to reach a final accord.
In the Senate the tariff passed and the Force bill by with many opponents of it walking out rather than voting for it. The Nullification Convention met again on March It repealed the November Nullification Ordinance and also, "in a purely symbolic gesture", nullified the Force Bill. While the nullifiers claimed victory on the tariff issue, even though they had made concessions, the verdict was very different on nullification.
The majority had, in the end, ruled and this boded ill for the South and their minorities hold on slavery. Warning that, "A people, owning slaves, are mad, or worse than mad, who do not hold their destinies in their own hands," he continued: Every stride of this Government, over your rights, brings it nearer and nearer to your peculiar policy.
It is not the Tariff — not Internal Improvement — nor yet the Force bill, which constitutes the great evil against which we are contending. On May 1, Jackson wrote, "the tariff was only a pretext, and disunion and southern confederacy the real object.
The next pretext will be the negro, or slavery question. Robert Reminithe historian and Jackson biographer, described the opposition that nullification drew from traditionally states' rights Southern states: The Alabama legislature, for example, pronounced the doctrine "unsound in theory and dangerous in practice.
The historian William J. Cooper notes that, "Numerous southerners had begun to perceive it [the Jacksonian Democratic Party] as a spear aimed at the South rather than a shield defending the South. The party was a coalition of interests united by the common thread of opposition to Andrew Jackson and, more specifically, his "definition of federal and executive power. Emphasizing that "they were more southern than the Democrats," the party grew within the South by going "after the abolition issue with unabashed vigor and glee.
This failure increased the volatility of the slavery issues. Within the states' rights movement, the traditional desire for simply "a weak, inactive, and frugal government" was challenged.
Ellis states that "in the years leading up to the Civil War the nullifiers and their pro-slavery allies used the doctrine of states' rights and state sovereignty in such a way as to try to expand the powers of the federal government so that it could more effectively protect the peculiar institution. It said that the Union "should be cherished and perpetuated.
Let the open enemy to it be regarded as a Pandora with her box opened; and the disguised one, as the Serpent creeping with his deadly wiles into paradise. In what became known as the Gag Rule Debates, abolitionists flooded the Congress with anti-slavery petitions to end slavery and the slave trade in Washington, D.
The debate was reopened each session as Southerners, led by South Carolinians Henry Pinckney and John Hammond, prevented the petitions from even being officially received by Congress. Led by John Quincy Adams, the slavery debate remained on the national stage until late when Congress lifted all restrictions on processing the petitions.
The battle between Jacksonian democratic nationalists, northern and southern, and nullifier sectionalists would resound through the politics of slavery and antislavery for decades to come.
Jackson's victory, ironically, would help accelerate the emergence of southern pro-slavery as a coherent and articulate political force, which would help solidify northern antislavery opinion, inside as well as outside Jackson's party. Jackson immediately offered his thought that nullification was tantamount to treason and quickly dispatched ships to Charleston harbor and began strengthening federal fortifications there.
Congress supported the president and passed a Force Bill in early which authorized Jackson to use soldiers to enforce the tariff measures. Meanwhile Henry Clay again took up his role as the Great Compromiser. On the same day the Force Bill passed, he secured passage of the Tariff of This latter measure provided for the gradual reduction of the tariff over 10 years down to the level which had existed in This compromise was acceptable to Calhoun who had not been successful with finding any other state to support him on nullification.
Jackson signed both measures. South Carolina repealed its nullification measure, but then spitefully nullified the Force Bill. Jackson wisely ignored that action. Although the issue died down, the idea did not entirely go away and gradually morphed into the principle of nullification of the union itself, leading eventually to the secession of Southern states and the formation of the Confederacy.