The Nullification Crisis!!!

by Jessie Zibart

How Did The Nullification Crisis Begin?

This crisis came about when Congress passed a tariff on imports coming into the states in 1828. That initial tariff raised money for the Federal government and protected the factories in the North by placing taxes on the import of wool, clothing, hemp and iron, ultimately trying to increase revenue by $20 million. However, this was bad news for the South because they relied heavily on imports, thus causing a huge problem when these imports now had heavy taxes on them, and caused many hardships for the South to pay. South Carolina declared that the Federal government was overstepping its power by supporting the northern manufacturing industries in such ways. John Calhoun stated these taxes were unconstitutional since the right to impose taxes by the Constitution is for the purpose of increasing revenue -- not to protect domestic industries. Now financially struggling, South Carolina decided to try to nullify this tariff.
The Tariff of Abominations! YouTube
The video was actually wrong in the sense that it stated the tariff in 1832 was larger. In fact the tariffs were reduced, but still unsatisfactory for the southerners.

Impacts of the Nullification Crisis

Due to the unfair impact of the tariffs, South Carolina enacted an ordinance nullifying them. John Calhoun, legislature of South Carolina, claimed they were unconstitutional and refused to enforce them. This caused President Andrew Jackson to institute the Force Act which authorized the use of military to enforce the taxes. Henry Clay stepped in and created a compromise tariff in 1833, lowering the taxes that everyone was happy with.


Age of Jackson: Crash Course US History #14


nullify- make legally null and void; invalidate

ordinance- a law or group of laws enacted by a state or governing body

tariff- a tax on imports or exports

Important Key Roles