HIST 3550 Expertise

HIST 3550 Expertise - Anne Cordeiro HIST 3550 Expertise...

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Anne Cordeiro HIST 3550 Expertise Essay March 26, 2009 The nullification crisis of 1832 took place during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, with origins to the Tariff of 1828, which came to be known as the “Tariff of Abominations.” The tariff raised import duties at extraordinary rates, rates much higher than conventional standards. The tariff outraged many Southern political leaders especially those in South Carolina; believing the tariff was made to benefit the growing northern manufacturers at the expense of the southern economy. In response Jackson and Congress passed a new tariff in 1832 to appease the South, however although some of the rates where lower it still very much catered to the protection of the North, while weakening southern economy. This led to the South Carolina issuing a doctrine of nullification, which held that a state could annul an act of Congress if deemed unconstitutional. This insinuation that the states would now be the final interpreters of the Constitution is what surrounds the nullification crisis. Although it may appear on the surface that predicament was about the tariffs of 1828 and 1832, the essential issue that the administration faced was to determine where does sovereignty lie? Is the Federal government the supreme law, or do the states have the constitutional right to declare a federal law invalid? Jackson had a crisis on his hands that would not only define his presidency but that would also set the precedent for centuries to come. The Federal government is supreme and under no circumstances will the preservation of the Union ever be compromised. In response to the Tariff of 1828 Vice President John C. Calhoun of South Carolina wrote anonymously a proposal for nullification. In the proposal Calhoun gives various reasons as to why South Carolina had the right to call the tariff null and void. Calhoun argues that the federal
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government must show evidence that it is indeed exercising a power that it is expressly granted through the Constitution. He writes, “It results necessarily, that those who claim to exercise a power under the Constitution, are bound to shew, that it is expressly granted, or that it is necessary and proper, as a means to some of the granted powers. The advocates of the Tariff have offered no such proof.” 1 Calhoun recognizes that Congress has the right to implement authority, however it must be given to them in the Constitution, outside of this all power goes to the states or the people. Along with this Calhoun asserts Congresses right to impose taxes this being a Constitutional claim. However, he writes that this claim is for the sole purpose of collecting revenue as opposed to imposing a protective or prohibitory duty. Calhoun explains, “The Constitution grants to Congress the power of imposing a duty on imports for revenue which power is abused by being converted into an instrument for rearing up the industry of one section of the country on the ruins of another…It is, in a word, a
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This note was uploaded on 10/21/2009 for the course HIST 2100 taught by Professor Naigles during the Spring '08 term at UConn.

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HIST 3550 Expertise - Anne Cordeiro HIST 3550 Expertise...

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