Political crisis that emerged during 1832-1833 in the United States of America’s, under the presidency of Andrew Jackson, where a collision happened between the federal government and the state of South Carolina. The confrontation occurred after the declaration that the federal tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were not constitutional and thus nullified under the sovereign boundaries of the state. The prior downfall of the United States during the entire 1820’s affected South Carolina in particular. Politicians from the state of South Carolina accused the change in fortune that happened as a direct result of the national tariff policy devised during the War of 1812 that started to promote manufacturing of American products to compete with the European production. The highly protective as well as controversial tariff of 1828 (also known as the Tariff of Abominations) was absorbed in law when John Quincy Adams was the president. A strong opposition happened in the South, because it was believed that pressurizing the agricultural states for imposition of tax and manufactured goods was considered unfair and unconstitutional. This tariff was also opposed in certain parts of England. This issue subsequently increased the organizational capability of the state politicians when this tariff issue came into limelight.
The politicians who opposed the tariff plan believed that Jackson being elected as the President will result in significant decrease of the tariff plans. After failure of the Jackson government in addressing the issue with strong hands, the actively radical sections of the state started to advocate that the tariff was declared to be null and void at least within the premises of South Carolina. There was an open dissection on the issue, which happened between Jackson and John C. C Calhoune, who was a native South Carolinian and an effective proponent for the constitutional theory for the state nullification, a legal theory, which stated that any federal law, found unconstitutional, could be declared null and void within the state.
Before Calhoune resigned officially on 14th July 1832 from the post of vice president to become a senator, which would help him to defend nullification more effectively. Jackson officially signed for the law of Tariff of 1832, this was a compromised tariff supported by most of the people from the northern provinces and of the Southerners in the Congress. Though, the deductions were very less for the state of South Carolina, but on 24th November 1832, the adoption of Ordinance of Nullification by the state declared that both the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were unenforceable as well as unconstitutional in South Carolina after 1st February 1833. Military preparations were made to resist possible federal enforcement. March 1st 1833 saw Congress passing both the Force Bill that provided authority to the President for using military power against the state of South Carolina, as well as a renewed negotiation tariff, which was termed as the Negotiation tariff of 1833, that was satisfactory for the state of South Carolina. The convention in South Carolina repealed and reconvened the ordinance of nullification on 15th March 1833, however 3 days later, the force bill was nullified as a symbolic gesture for maintaining principles and ethics.
Crisis ended when both sides found reason for claiming their respective victory. The reduction of tariff rates and staying low consequently made the south satisfied, although the states rights’ rules of nullification is controversial till date. During the 1850s, issues of expansion of slavery in western territories and the power that threatened the slaves became a prime issue for the nation. After the nullification crisis, the doctrine of states’ rights was brought up by the opponents of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, California’s Specific Contract Act of 1863, powers that opposed the federal civil rights legislation, prohibition of marijuana possession happened. During the first decades of 21st century, and the powers opposing the implementation of such laws and regulatory acts related to possession of firearms started from the late 1900s up to the first half of early 2000.
There was a decline in the economy of South Carolina during the time period of 1820s, that affected the national economy at a rapid rate. During this time, there was a rapid decline in population where 56,000 white Americans and 30,000 slaves from a total of 580,000. The white Americans left their native places looking for better opportunities taking slaves with them to sell them off to traders moving Deep South. During the entire colonial and national periods at an early stage show substantial growth of economic prosperity. This in turn created an extremely rich and low functioning aristocracy. These people made their fortunes from cultivation of indigo, rice and cotton. The state was completely devastated during the Panic of 1819. The depression that followed was far more severe in nature compared to any other state within the nation during that point of time. Rise in competition for producing cotton by the Gulf Coast, which was bestowed with lands that were fertile started producing crops, whose prices were recovered at a slower rate. During this time, the slaves were more in number compared to the white Americans and a rebellion was expected due to the rising tension.
Nullification is termed as a formal suspension of a federal law within the state borders. The principle was accepted in Hartford Convention of New Englanders during 1814, as well as a lot in the South, which sought nullification as an escape route from the atrocities of the federal government. This was at an inhibitory stage before 1832 when the crisis reached a peak point. Despite several petitions from the representatives in South, there was a total failure in protecting the barriers, which were erected by the legislation earlier. There was a bill passed on 24th November 1832, which imposed a threat to the federal government in an attempt to collect the tariff duties. During this time, Robert Hayne resigned from the senator’s position to become the governor of South Carolina. Thus, after several atrocities imposed by the federal government, the rise in conscience in state politicians made the federal government change certain laws.
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