The Nullification Crisis

Topics: American Civil War, Southern United States, John C. Calhoun Pages: 1 (310 words) Published: May 26, 2013
The nullification crisis represented sectionalism, as a cause to the Civil War by creating hostility and conflict between the North and South. The South was extremely opposed to the Tariff of Abominations and the following Tariff of 1833. Sectionalism is defined by petty distinctions at the cost of well being. The Southern states didn't need protective tariffs because their economy was already very stable from the wealth of the cotton industry. Therefore, the tariffs only stopped their foreign trade and did nothing to benefit them. South Carolina became so enraged that when Congress declared the tariff on 1828, many of the southern people said they were going to back out of the union or secede. After this, Vice President Calhoun, who was born in South Carolina, wanted to legally resist the tariffs. He created the idea of nullification in 1828. John Calhoun wrote the "South Carolina Exposition and Protest," which declared the tariff null and void in South Carolina. Nullification was the theory that a state had the ability to declare invalid a federal-level law. So when the national government instituted a tariff, Calhoun told the South Carolina that they could simply refuse to pay it.

The majority of the northern states weren’t affected by the tariffs because their industries were not targeted. As the strength of the tariffs accumulated, the Southern people felt a rising sense of a common identity in their decision to declare the tariffs null and void and their desire to remove themselves from the Union intensified. President Jackson believed the South’s interest in nullification was the same as an act of treason and asserted the union’s dominance over the South by sending a battleship to Charleston. These tensions between the South and those northern states that believed the union must be preserved, were a contributing factor to the cause of the Civil War.
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