South Carolina and other southern states were upset when Congress passed the Tariff of 1828 which Southerners dubbed the "Tariff of Abominations." Southerners saw the tariff as protecting Northern industry at the expense of the South, and as unconstitutionally expanding the powers of the federal government.
Many Southerners was not satisfied when Congress lowered tariffs
slightly in 1832. In response, South Carolinàs state legislature
passed laws nullifying the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 and forbidding the
collection of the tariffs in South Carolina. South Carolina also
threatened to secede to withdraw from the United States if
its stance on the tariff was not respected. As you read, consider
South Carolinàs position on the tariff and its response. How might
South Carolina have defended its position on the tariff and on a states
power to nullify the laws of the federal government?
Whereas the Congress of the United States , by various acts, purporting
to be acts laying duties and imposts on foreign imports, but in reality
intended for the protection of domestic manufactures, and the giving of
bounties to classes and individuals engaged in particular employments,
at the expense and to the injury and oppression of other classes and individuals...
hath exceeded its just powers under the Constitution....
We, therefore the people of the state of South Carolina in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain .... [That the tariff acts of 1828 and 1832] purporting to be laws for the imposting of duties and imposts on the importation of foreign commodities.... are unauthorized by the Constitution of the United States, and violate the true meaning and intent thereof, and are null, void, and no law, nor binding upon this State, its officers or citizens....
And it is further Ordained, That it shall not be lawful for any of the constituted authorities, whether of this State or of the United States, to enforce payment of the duties imposed by said acts.... [and] it shall be the duty of the [South Carolina] Legislature to adopt such measures and pass such acts as may be necessary to give full effect to this Ordinance....
And we, the people of South Carolina, to the end that it may be fully
understood by the Government of the United States, and the people of the
co-States, that we are determined to maintain this, our Ordinance and Declaration,
at every hazard, Do further Declare that we will not submit to the application
of force, on the part of the Federal Government, to reduce this State to
obedience; but that we will consider the passage by Congress, of any act...
to coerce the State, shut up her ports, destroy or harass her commerce,
or to enforce the acts hereby declared null and void, otherwise than through
the civil tribunals of the country, as inconsistent with the longer continuance
of South Carolina in the Union: and that the people of this state will
thenceforth hold themselves absolved from all further obligation to maintain
or preserve their political connection with the people of the other States,
and will forthwith proceed to organize a separate Government, and do all
other acts and things which sovereign and independent States may of right
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