John C. Calhoun - Wikipedia
On March 4, , Andrew Jackson was sworn in as president. The split between Jackson and Calhoun deepened over another issue. John C. Calhoun had planned to run for president in but dropped out when his home state of South Carolina supported Jackson instead. The relationship between Jackson and Calhoun got off to a bad start when shortly after the inaugural in , Calhoun's wife, Flordie, refused to entertain or .
The UK strongly objected, especially as it was recruiting more Africans as sailors. What was worse, if the captains did not pay the fees to cover the cost of jailing, South Carolina would sell the sailors into slavery. Other southern states also passed laws against free black sailors. The South Carolina Senate announced that the judge's ruling was invalid and that the Act would be enforced.
The federal government did not attempt to carry out Johnson's decision. The state's leaders were not united and the sides were roughly equal. The western part of the state and a faction in Charleston, led by Joel Poinsettwould remain loyal to the Union. Only in small part was the conflict between "a National North against a States'-right South".
They were rebuffed in their efforts to coordinate a united Southern response and focused on how their state representatives would react.
While many agreed with George McDuffie that tariff policy could lead to secession at some future date, they all agreed that as much as possible, the issue should be kept out of the upcoming presidential election. Calhoun, while not at this meeting, served as a moderating influence. He felt that the first step in reducing the tariff was to defeat Adams and his supporters in the upcoming election.
Prestonon behalf of the South Carolina legislature, asked Calhoun to prepare a report on the tariff situation. Calhoun readily accepted this challenge and in a few weeks time had a 35,word draft of what would become his " Exposition and Protest ". He argued that the tariff of was unconstitutional because it favored manufacturing over commerce and agriculture. He thought that the tariff power could only be used to generate revenue, not to provide protection from foreign competition for American industries.
He believed that the people of a state or several states, acting in a democratically elected convention, had the retained power to veto any act of the federal government which violated the Constitution. This veto, the core of the doctrine of nullification, was explained by Calhoun in the Exposition: If it be conceded, as it must be by every one who is the least conversant with our institutions, that the sovereign powers delegated are divided between the General and State Governments, and that the latter hold their portion by the same tenure as the former, it would seem impossible to deny to the States the right of deciding on the infractions of their powers, and the proper remedy to be applied for their correction.
The right of judging, in such cases, is an essential attribute of sovereignty, of which the States cannot be divested without losing their sovereignty itself, and being reduced to a subordinate corporate condition. In fact, to divide power, and to give to one of the parties the exclusive right of judging of the portion allotted to each, is, in reality, not to divide it at all; and to reserve such exclusive right to the General Government it matters not by what department to be exercisedis to convert it, in fact, into a great consolidated government, with unlimited powers, and to divest the States, in reality, of all their rights, It is impossible to understand the force of terms, and to deny so plain a conclusion.
All through that hot and humid summer, emotions among the vociferous planter population had been worked up to a near-frenzy of excitement. The whole tenor of the argument built up in the "Exposition" was aimed to present the case in a cool, considered manner that would dampen any drastic moves yet would set in motion the machinery for repeal of the tariff act. It would also warn other sections of the Union against any future legislation that an increasingly self-conscious South might consider punitive, especially on the subject of slavery.
Calhoun, who still had designs on succeeding Jackson as president, was not identified as the author but word on this soon leaked out. The legislature took no action on the report at that time.
As a state representative, Rhett called for the governor to convene a special session of the legislature. An outstanding orator, Rhett appealed to his constituents to resist the majority in Congress. Rhett addressed the danger of doing nothing: But if you are doubtful of yourselves — if you are not prepared to follow up your principles wherever they may lead, to their very last consequence — if you love life better than honor, -- prefer ease to perilous liberty and glory; awake not!
Live in smiling peace with your insatiable Oppressors, and die with the noble consolation that your submissive patience will survive triumphant your beggary and despair. Jefferson's "rightful remedy" of nullification. Hamilton sent a copy of the speech directly to President-elect Jackson. But, despite a statewide campaign by Hamilton and McDuffie, a proposal to call a nullification convention in was defeated by the South Carolina legislature meeting at the end of State leaders such as Calhoun, Hayne, Smith, and William Drayton were all able to remain publicly non-committal or opposed to nullification for the next couple of years.
After Congress tabled the measure, the debate in South Carolina resumed between those who wanted state investment and those who wanted to work to get Congress' support. The debate demonstrated that a significant minority of the state did have an interest in Clay's American System. The effect of the Webster—Hayne debate was to energize the radicals, and some moderates started to move in their direction. On the defensive, radicals underplayed the intent of the convention as pro-nullification.
When voters were presented with races where an unpledged convention was the issue, the radicals generally won. When conservatives effectively characterized the race as being about nullification, the radicals lost. The October election was narrowly carried by the radicals, although the blurring of the issues left them without any specific mandate. Pinckney as speaker of the South Carolina House. State politics became sharply divided along Nullifier and Unionist lines.
Still, the margin in the legislature fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for a convention. Many of the radicals felt that convincing Calhoun of the futility of his plans for the presidency would lead him into their ranks. Calhoun meanwhile had concluded that Martin Van Buren was clearly establishing himself as Jackson's heir apparent. At Hamilton's prompting, George McDuffie made a three-hour speech in Charleston demanding nullification of the tariff at any cost. In the state, the success of McDuffie's speech seemed to open up the possibilities of both military confrontation with the federal government and civil war within the state.
With silence no longer an acceptable alternative, Calhoun looked for the opportunity to take control of the anti-tariff faction in the state; by June he was preparing what would be known as his Fort Hill Address. While the logic of much of the speech was consistent with the states' rights position of most Jacksonians, and even Daniel Webster remarked that it "was the ablest and most plausible, and therefore the most dangerous vindication of that particular form of Revolution", the speech still placed Calhoun clearly in the nullifier camp.
Within South Carolina, his gestures at moderation in the speech were drowned out as planters received word of the Nat Turner insurrection in Virginia. Calhoun was not alone in finding a connection between the abolition movement and the sectional aspects of the tariff issue.
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 institution 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.
Split Divides Jackson, Vice President Calhoun
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 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 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.
Custom houses in Beaufort and Georgetown would be closed and replaced by ships located at each port.
He said that there was no greater evil than giving more power to the federal government. The major point of his speech could be put into a few words: Senator Webster said Hayne had spoken foolishly.
Liberty and union could not be separated, Webster said. It was liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable. No one really knew how President Andrew Jackson felt about nullification. He made no public statement during the debate. Leaders in South Carolina developed a plan to get the president's support. They decided to hold a big dinner honoring the memory of Thomas Jefferson.
Jackson agreed to attend the dinner. The speeches were carefully planned. They began by praising the democratic ideas of Jefferson. Next they discussed South Carolina's opposition to the import tax. Andrew Jackson Finally, the speeches were finished.
Nullification Crisis - Wikipedia
It was time for toasts. President Jackson made the first one. He stood up, raised his glass, and looked straight at Vice President John C. He waited for the cheering to stop. He had not expected Jackson's opposition to nullification. His hand shook, and he spilled some of the wine from his glass. Calhoun was called on to make the next toast. Most of those at dinner left with him. And the people were with him — opposed to nullification. But the idea was not dead among some people in South Carolina.
The nullifiers held a majority of seats in the state's legislature at that time. They called a special convention. Within five days, convention delegates approved a declaration of nullification. They said citizens of South Carolina need not pay the federal import taxes. The nullifiers also declared that if the federal government tried to use force against South Carolina, then the state would withdraw from the union and form its own independent government.
Jackson was a nationalist. He was a great believer in the federal union. He was a flag-waving patriot. As Jackson saw it, nullification was the beginning of the end of the United States as a nation. He says Jackson believed in a limited federal government. But that did not mean the people of every state should decide what the constitution means. We have the Supreme Court, we have the ability of the people and their elected representatives to appeal to Congress to repeal those laws — to take them back.
In it, he said America's constitution formed a government, not just an association, or group, of sovereign states.
Andrew Jackson Proclaims Federal Power over States' Rights
South Carolina had no right to cancel a federal law or to withdraw from the union. Jackson explained that it was his duty, as president, to enforce the laws of the land. Even, as Daniel Feller says, if he had to use force. And it was in italics, underlined, emphasized in the printed version of the proclamation. Are you really read to incur its guilt?
While preparing to use force, Jackson offered hope for a peaceful settlement. In a message to Congress, he spoke of reducing the federal import tax that hurt the sale of southern cotton overseas. He said the tax could be reduced, because the national debt would soon be paid.
Congress passed a compromise bill to end the import tax by South Carolina's congressmen accepted the compromise.
- John C. Calhoun
- Andrew Jackson Proclaims Federal Power over States' Rights
And the state's legislature called another convention. This time, the delegates voted to end the nullification act they had approved earlier. They did not, however, give up their belief in the idea of nullification. Daniel Feller says one reason is because Southern politicians thought they might need to use nullification later. An anti-slavery movement was beginning to grow in the country. Some southerners worried that Congress would one day make laws they did not like against slavery.