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Andrew Jackson - The Beginning
Transcript of Andrew Jackson - The Beginning
78 years old Andrew Jackson The 1828Tariff of Abominations illustrated economic priorities in terms of sectional considerations, resulting in calls for nullification and states' rights. In 1828 the Congress passed an import tax measure that came to be called the “Tariff of Abominations.” Contrived by the supporters of Andrew Jackson to embarrass the presidency of John Quincy Adams, the measure, according to John Randolph of Virginia, was designed less to support manufactures, but for “the manufacture of a President of the United States.” Although Jackson’s supporters did not intend for the measure to pass, it was approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Adams on May 19, 1828. The Tariff Issue and Southern Opposition Tariffs had existed since Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton convinced the Congress of their utility during the Washington administration. Tariffs were the primary source of government revenue and, after 1816, offered protection to the infant industries of America from lower priced foreign imports. The greatest benefactor of high tariff schedules was New England, although as the young nation grew, other areas benefited as well. In the 1820s, Southern states on the Atlantic seaboard were experiencing difficult economic times. Cotton, the most lucrative cash crop for the South, was steadily declining in value. This affected Virginia as well as North and South Carolina as more cotton plantations began to emerge in the lower South in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and parts of Georgia. Increased production drove down prices. Concomitant to the falling price of cotton, farmers in the most depressed areas were migrating westward, exacerbating a decline in population. Cessation of foreign slave imports after 1808 dramatically increased the price of slaves, further aggravating agricultural considerations. High tariff schedules increased the cost of imported goods. Southerners from states adversely affected believed that tariffs only benefited the North. Tariffs and Sectional Approval or Disapproval Between 1816 and 1842 Congress enacted six different tariff measures. Only twice were tariff schedules lowered in those six measures. With the exception of the 1832 tariff, which addressed the high rates of the 1828 tariff, congressional delegations from New England approved high tariff rates with overwhelming majorities. He was involved in many duels 1-On December 10, 1832, President Andrew Jackson issued the Nullification Proclamation 2-Stated that states and municipalities are forbidden from nullifying federal laws. 3-He also threatened to enforce the proclamation with the use of federal arms. 4-Although congressional compromise soon defused the situation, Jackson's proclamation made it clear that he believed the federal government was the supreme power in the United States and he was willing to use the military to ensure its supremacy 5-The debate over the issue of nullification actually began before Andrew Jackson took office. The passage of highly protectionist Tariff of 1828 upset many South Carolinians. 6-Since only a small number of states in the lower South shared the South Carolina viewpoint, there was little prospect of repealing the offending tariff. Believing the tariff to be unconstitutional, South Carolinians articulated a route by which they themselves could declare a law unconstitutional. 7-The view was put forward in an essay entitled, "An Exposition and Protest," which was written by John C. Calhoun, but published anonymously. 8-The view was put forward in an essay entitled, "An Exposition and Protest," which was written by John C. Calhoun, but published anonymously. 9-The essay argued that since the federal Constitution was a compact between the states, the states had the ability to declare laws unconstitutional. 10-If a state did this, Calhoun argued, then the proper course of action was for the federal government to reconsider the law. Under Calhoun's plan, a nullified law would have to be re-approved by a two-thirds vote in Congress and a three-fourths vote in the state legislatures, then the nullifying state would have the option of acquiescing or seceding. 11-Few beyond South Carolina found the arguments in the "Exposition and Protest" persuasive. 12-The question lay dormant until 1832. Congress passed another tariff, this one also protectionist in nature. Although Calhoun was vice president, he could not prevent Andrew Jackson from signing the bill into law. 13-When the Democratic Party replaced Calhoun with Martin Van Buren as the vice-presidential candidate for the 1832 election, 14-Calhoun felt that he had nothing to lose by challenging the law. Calhoun resigned as vice president, and the South Carolina legislature promptly chose him to be a senator. 15-The legislature also called for the selection of a state constitutional convention. Meeting in November 1832, the state convention ruled the 1828 and 1832 federal tariffs to be unconstitutional and promptly nullified them. 16-The convention also ruled that effective February 1, 1833, the federal government would no longer be able to collect the tariff revenues within the borders of South Carolina. South Carolina's actions shocked the United States as a whole and infuriated President Jackson. 17-While Jackson was a fervent supporter of state sovereignty, he felt that South Carolina was taking the states' rights position to extremes and undermining the structure of the federal Union and the Constitution itself. 18-Jackson issued a proclamation on December 10, 1832 disavowing the doctrine of nullification. He declared that the Constitution created a single government for all Americans and that secession was illegal. 19-Jackson issued a proclamation on December 10, 1832 disavowing the doctrine of nullification. He declared that the Constitution created a single government for all Americans and that secession was illegal. 20-He regarded as treason any act of violence designed to aid and abet secession. Jackson also proposed that Congress pass a Force Bill, which would allow him as President to collect the tariff by force, if necessary. 21-While Jackson spoiled for a fight, leaders in Congress attempted to work out a compromise. New York Congressman Gulian Verpalnck proposed a reduced tariff, but it failed to win majority support. Senator Henry Clay then proposed what became known as the "Compromise Tariff." 22-This tariff would maintain protection, but its rates would decrease every year, until the protective tariff itself was totally eliminated by 1842. This proposal was acceptable to a majority in Congress and to South Carolina. 23-Congress passed both the Compromise Tariff and the Force Bill, and Jackson signed them both into law on March 2, 1833. 24-South Carolina rescinded its nullification of the tariffs (but then nullified the Force Bill as an act of principle), and the crisis was over. 25-The Nullification Crisis is interesting to historians for several reasons. It provides evidence into the nature of Andrew Jackson's political and constitutional thinking. 26-While Jackson believed in a strict construction of the Constitution and in states' rights, he believed that when the Constitution had delegated power to the federal government, the federal government had to be supreme. 27-Jackson also valued the Union and was not willing to see it compromised or to let it disintegrate. 28-The Nullification Crisis also revealed the depths of alienation which existed among the cotton planters of the Deep South as early as the 1830s. 29-This alienation did not go away, nor did the desire to seek to formulate a constitutional construction that could alleviate planter grievances - namely, economic domination by northern commercial interests and the fear that the federal government might tamper with the institution of slavery. 30-In many ways, the Nullification Crisis was a rehearsal for the political and constitutional crisis of the 1850s that would culminate in the American Civil War.