Nullification Proclamation and Nullification Crisis
South Carolina and the Nullification Proclamation
President Andrew Jackson and the Nullification Crisis
Nullification Proclamation, Nullification
Crisis, and the American Civil War
South Carolina threatened to secede from the Union in
the 1830s because of high tariffs.
Led by John C. Calhoun, Jackson's vice president at the time, the nullifiers
felt that the tariff acts of 1828 and 1832 favored Northern-manufacturing interests at the expense of Southern farmers. After
Jackson issued his proclamation, Congress passed the Force Act that authorized the use of military force against any state
that resisted the tariff acts. In 1833, Henry Clay helped broker a compromise bill with Calhoun that slowly
lowered tariffs over the next decade. The Compromise Tariff of 1833 was eventually accepted by South Carolina and ended the
nullification crisis, but the tariff controversy fueled sectionalism and fanned the flames of secession and civil war.
(Additional reading below.)
Recommended Reading: Prelude
to Civil War: The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina,
1816-1836. Review: When William Freehling's Prelude to Civil War first appeared in 1965 it was immediately
hailed as a brilliant and incisive study of the origins of the Civil War. Book Week called it "fresh, exciting, and convincing,"
while The Virginia Quarterly Review praised it as, quite simply, "history at its best." It was equally well-received by historical
societies, garnering the Allan Nevins History Prize as well as a Bancroft Prize, the most prestigious history award of all.
Now once again available, Prelude to Civil War is still the definitive work on the subject, and one of the most important
in antebellum studies. It tells the story of the Nullification Controversy in South Carolina, describing how from 1816 to
1836 aristocratic planters of the Palmetto State tumbled from a contented and prosperous life of elegant balls and fine Madeira
wines to a world rife with economic distress, guilt over slavery, and apprehension of slave rebellion. It shows in compelling
detail how this reversal of fortune led the political leaders of South Carolina
down the path to ever more radical states rights doctrines: in 1832 they were seeking to nullify federal law by refusing to
obey it; four years later some of them were considering secession. Continued below…
As the story
unfolds, we meet a colorful and skillfully drawn cast of characters, among them John C. Calhoun, who hoped that nullification
would save both his highest priority, slavery, and his next priority, union; President Andrew Jackson, who threatened to hang
Calhoun and lead federal troops into South Carolina; Denmark Vesey, who organized and nearly brought off a slave conspiracy;
and Martin Van Buren, the "Little Magician," who plotted craftily to replace Calhoun in Jackson's esteem. These and other
important figures come to life in these pages, and help to tell a tale--often in their own words--central to an understanding
of the war which eventually engulfed the United States. Demonstrating how a profound sensitivity to the still-shadowy slavery
issue--not serious economic problems alone--led to the Nullification Controversy, Freehling revises many theories previously
held by historians. He describes how fear of abolitionists and their lobbying power in Congress prompted South Carolina's
leaders to ban virtually any public discussion of the South's "peculiar institution," and shows that while the Civil War had
many beginnings, none was more significant than this single, passionate controversy. Written in a lively and eminently readable
style, Prelude to Civil War is must reading for anyone trying to discover the roots of the conflict that soon would tear the
Recommended Reading: The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (Paperback), by David M. Potter. Review: Professor Potter treats an incredibly complicated and misinterpreted
time period with unparalleled objectivity and insight. Potter masterfully explains the climatic events that led to Southern
secession – a greatly divided nation – and the Civil War: the social, political and ideological conflicts;
culture; American expansionism, sectionalism and popular sovereignty; economic and tariff systems; and slavery. In other words, Potter places under the microscope the root causes and origins of the Civil War.
He conveys the subjects in easy to understand language to edify the reader's understanding (it's
not like reading some dry old history book). Delving beyond surface meanings
and interpretations, this book analyzes not only the history, but the historiography of the time period as well. Continued
rejects the historian's tendency to review the period with all the benefits of hindsight. He simply traces the events, allowing
the reader a step-by-step walk through time, the various views, and contemplates the interpretations of contemporaries and
other historians. Potter then moves forward with his analysis. The Impending Crisis is the absolute gold-standard of historical
writing… This simply is the book by which, not only other antebellum era books, but all history books should be judged.
Recommended Reading: Nullification: How
to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century. Description: Citizens across the country are fed up with
the politicians in Washington telling us how to live our lives—and then sticking us with the bill. But what can we do?
Actually, we can just say “no.” As New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, “nullification”
allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws. For many tea partiers nationwide, nullification is rapidly becoming
the only way to stop an over-reaching government drunk on power. From privacy to national healthcare, Woods shows how this
growing and popular movement is sweeping across America and empowering states to take action against Obama’s socialist
policies and big-government agenda. Continued below...
From the Inside Flap: Unconstitutional
laws are pouring out of Washington…but we can stop them.
Just ask Thomas Jefferson. There is a “rightful remedy”
to federal power grabs—it’s called Nullification.
In Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, historian
and New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr. explains not only why nullification is the constitutional tool
the Founders envisioned, but how it works—and has already been employed in cases ranging from upholding the First Amendment
to knocking down slave laws before the Civil War. In Nullification, Woods shows:
* How the states were meant to be checks against federal tyranny—and
how a growing roster of governors and state attorneys general are recognizing they need to become that again
* Why the
Tenth Amendment to the Constitution reinforces the rights of states to nullify unconstitutional laws
* Why it was left
to the states to uphold the simple principle that an unconstitutional law is no law at all
* Why, without nullification,
ordinary Americans will continue to suffer the oppression of unjust, unconstitutional laws
* PLUS thorough documentation
of how the Founding Fathers believed nullification could be applied
Nullification is not just a book—it could become a movement to restore
the proper constitutional limits of the federal government. Powerful, provocative, and timely, Nullification is sure to stir
debate and become a constitutional handbook for all liberty-loving Americans.
When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession. Review: As a historian, I have learned
that the heart of any great work in history lies in the ample and accurate use of primary sources, and primary sources are
the great strength of this work. While countless tomes have debated the perceived moral sides of the Civil War and the motivations
of the various actors, this work investigates the motives of the primary players in the era and in their own words and writings.
This gives the work an excellent realism and accuracy. The author, Charles Adams, has earned a reputation as one of the leading
economic historians in the field, particularly in the area of taxes. He utilizes this background to investigate the American
Civil War, and comes to some very striking conclusions, many that defy the politically-correct history of today. His thesis
postulates that the Civil War had its primary cause not in slavery or state's rights, but rather in cold, hard economic concerns.
shows that the North used its supremacy in Congress to push through massive tariffs to fund the government, and that these
tariffs fell much harder on the export-dependent South than upon the insular north. In fact, the total revenue from the "Compromise"
Tariffs on the 1830s and 40s amounted to $107.5 million, of which $90 million came from the South. The majority of the revenue,
moreover, was spent on projects “far from the South.” According to Adams, this disparity finally pushed the South to seek its own independence. Supporting
this conclusion is the fact that the South enacted extremely low tariffs throughout the war, whereas the north enacted the
Morrill Tariff of 1861, which enacted tariffs as high as 50 percent on some goods. Adams
also chronicles the oft-overlooked excesses of the Lincoln Administration, and compares them to the actions of Julius Caesar.
Using the letters and reports of the times, he tells how Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, trod
roughshod over the Constitution, jailed thousands of U.S. citizens who
dared disagree with him and even wrote a warrant for the arrest of the Chief Justice of the United States. Adams also ably uses the viewpoints
of British and other Europeans to describe different contemporary views on the struggle. These provide excellent outside insight.
On the whole, readers will find the book a superb and scholarly analysis, providing fresh insights into the motivations and
causes of the defining war in American history. AWARDED 5 STARS by americancivilwarhistory.org
Recommended Reading: What Hath
God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848
(Oxford History of the United States)
(Hardcover) (928 pages). Review: The newest volume
in the renowned Oxford History of the United States-- A brilliant portrait of an era that saw dramatic transformations in
American life The Oxford History of the United States
is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. The series includes two Pulitzer Prize winners, two New York
Times bestsellers, and winners of the Bancroft and Parkman Prizes. Now, in What Hath God Wrought, historian Daniel Walker
Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American
War, an era when the United States expanded
to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent. Continued below...
narrative portrays revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American
empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the spread of information.
These innovations prompted the emergence of mass political parties and stimulated America's economic development from
an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified economy in which commerce and industry took their place alongside agriculture.
In his story, the author weaves together political and military events with social, economic, and cultural history. He examines
the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party, but contends that John Quincy Adams and other Whigs--advocates of public
education and economic integration, defenders of the rights of Indians, women, and African-Americans--were the true prophets
of America's future. He reveals the power
of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and
other reform movements, politics, education, and literature. Howe's story of American expansion -- Manifest Destiny -- culminates
in the bitterly controversial but brilliantly executed war waged against Mexico
to gain California and Texas for the United States. By 1848, America had been transformed. What Hath God Wrought provides a monumental narrative
of this formative period in United States
The South Was Right! (Hardcover).
Description: Kin Hubbard said "'Tain't what a man don't
know that hurts him; it's what he does know that just ain't so." Much of what people "know" about the causes, conduct, and
consequences of the Civil War "just ain't so." The Kennedy brothers make a strong case that the real reasons and results of
the War Between the States have been buried under the myth of Father Abraham and his blue-clad saints marching south to save
the Union and free the slaves. Sure, the tone is polemical. But the "enlightened" elements
of American opinion have been engaging in a polemic against the South and its people for decades… Continued below...
This book adopts the "following the
money approach" to analyzing who profited most from slavery – a convincing argument that reflects that much of the wealth
went to the North. It also points out that slavery was not new to Africa, and was practiced
by Africans against Africans without foreign intervention. A strong case is made that the North and Lincoln held strong racist
views. Lincoln proposed shipping, or transporting, blacks back to Africa… The blacks residing in the Northern states were in a precarious predicament (e.g.
draft riots and lynchings in NY City). The authors, however, do not make any argument supporting slavery - their consistent
line is the practice is vile. The fact that many blacks served, assisted and provided material support to Union
and Confederate Armies is beyond refute. Native Americans also served with distinction on both sides during the Civil War.
“A controversial and thought-provoking book that challenges the status-quo
of present teachings…”
CAUSES OF THE CIVIL WAR: The Political, Cultural, Economic and Territorial Disputes Between the North and South. Description: While South Carolina's
preemptive strike on Fort Sumter and Lincoln's subsequent call to arms started the Civil War, South Carolina's
secession and Lincoln's military actions were simply the last
in a chain of events stretching as far back as 1619. Increasing moral conflicts and political debates over slavery-exacerbated
by the inequities inherent between an established agricultural society and a growing industrial one-led to a fierce sectionalism
which manifested itself through cultural, economic, political and territorial disputes. Continued below...
This historical study reduces sectionalism to its most fundamental form,
examining the underlying source of this antagonistic climate. From protective tariffs to the expansionist agenda, it illustrates
the ways in which the foremost issues of the time influenced relations between the North and the South.
Recommended Reading: The Real Lincoln:
A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War. Description: It hardly seems possible that there is more to say about someone who has been subjected
to such minute scrutiny in thousands of books and articles. Yet, Thomas J. DiLorenzo’s The Real Lincoln manages to raise fresh and morally probing questions, challenging the image of the martyred
16th president that has been fashioned carefully in marble and bronze, sentimentalism and myth. Continued below...
In doing so,
DiLorenzo does not follow the lead of M. E. Bradford or other Southern agrarians. He writes primarily not as a defender of
the Old South and its institutions, culture, and traditions, but as a libertarian enemy of the Leviathan state. DiLorenzo holds Lincoln and his war responsible for the triumph of "big government" and the birth of the
ubiquitous, suffocating modern U.S. state.
He seeks to replace the nation’s memory of Lincoln as the “Great Emancipator”
with the record of Lincoln as the “Great Centralizer.”
Sources: Ellis, Richard E. The Union at Risk: Jacksonian Democracy, States' Rights, and the Nullification
Crisis. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987; Freehling, William W. Prelude to Civil War: The Nullification Controversy
in South Carolina, 1816-1836. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992; Peterson, Merrill D. Olive Branch and Sword: The Compromise
of 1833. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982.