Tariffs of 1828 and 1832
Ordinance of Nullification
Compromise Tariff
Force Bill

Byron Seaberg,  Ben Gorr, Mason Foster


     The Tariff of 1828 was established to protect US industry from significantly cheaper foreign goods. However, the agrarian South was negatively impacted because of their reliance on European imports. The Tariff of 1832 reduced the tariff a small amount, in order to appease the South. However, South Carolina was not satisfied and passed the Ordinance of Nullification, which stated that SC would not acknowledge the tariff. This angered Jackson, who passed the Force Bill through Congress. The Force Bill allowed the president to further enforce the tariffs through military force. South Carolina was going to nullify the Force Bill as well, but Clay and Calhoun drafted the Tariff of 1833, or the Compromise Tariff, which would lower the tariff to a rate acceptable to the southern states. The combination of compromise and military threat caused SC to back down. Even though this conflict was resolved, it brought the issue of states' rights into full focus, eventually helping to set the stage for the Civil War.


This political cartoon depicts a man from the South who is noticeably skinnier than the man from the North standing next to him. There is a sign stating "Tariff" and "Taxes!" above the head of the Southerner. The author is obviously someone from the South (possibly South Carolina) who is upset about the tariff of 1828 that favored the North over the South due to the lack of production in the South. The skinny Southerner emphasizes the devastating effects compared to plump Northerner.

Primary Source

Jackson's Response to the Nullification Crisis

"The laws of the United States must be executed. I have no discretionary power on the subject-my duty is emphatically pronounced in the Constitution. Those who told you that you might peaceably prevent their execution, deceived you-they could not have been deceived themselves. They know that a forcible opposition could alone prevent the execution of the laws, and they know that such opposition must be repelled. Their object is disunion, but be not deceived by names; disunion, by armed force, is TREASON. Are you really ready to incur its guilt? If you are, on the head of the instigators of the act be the dreadful consequences-on their heads be the dishonor, but on yours may fall the punishment-on your unhappy State will inevitably fall all the evils of the conflict you force upon the government of your country....the consequence must be fearful for you, distressing to your fellow-citizens here, and to the friends of good government throughout the world. Its enemies have beheld our prosperity with avexation they could not conceal--it was a standing refutation of their slavish doctrines, and they will point to our discord with the triumph of malignant joy. It is yet in your power to disappoint them. There is yet time to show that the descendants of the Pinckneys, the Sumpters, the Rutledges, and of the thousand other names which adorn the pages of your Revolutionary history, will not abandon that Union to support which so many of them fought and bled and died. I adjure you, as you honor their memory--as you love the cause of freedom, to which they dedicated their lives--as you prize the peace of your country, the lives of its best citizens, and your own fair fame, to retrace your steps. Snatch from the archives of your State the disorganizing edict of its convention-bid its members to re-assemble and promulgate the decided expressions of your will to remain in the path which alone can conduct you to safety, prosperity, and honor.... "

    In his Nullification Proclamation, Jackson wonders why anyone would sacrifice national unity. Jackson was always a strong proponent of the military enforcement of federal legislation and this speech highlights his ability to use it under the soon-to-be-passed Force Bill. Jackson further asks the citizens of South Carolina to encourage their legislators to repeal the Ordinance of Nullification, which he believes was instated to cause controversy.


Britain was forced to export its goods to America after its war with France.
Since British goods were cheaper, the tariffs were passed to increase competition. These tariffs decreased British profits, lowering the purchasing power of the average British citizen.
This made it difficult for the British to pay for cotton imported from the South
Therefore, the South was simultaneously forced to pay more for goods and to face reduced income from sales of raw materials.
The Tariff of 1833 helped alleviate this problem by allowing many raw materials used by American industry to be admitted completely free of tax. It also stated that import taxes would gradually be cut over the next decade until they reached 20% in 1842.

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