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12.3 Conflicts Over States Rights. BANK!. Let’s see…..where did this start again? Hamilton wanted a national bank. Jefferson and Madison said, “No bank, not constitutional.” Washington backed Hamilton, the bank was created.

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12.3 Conflicts Over States Rights

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12 3 conflicts over states rights
12.3 Conflicts Over States Rights


  • Let’s see…..where did this start again?
  • Hamilton wanted a national bank.
  • Jefferson and Madison said, “No bank, not constitutional.”
  • Washington backed Hamilton, the bank was created.
  • Jefferson and Madison secretly scripted the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions saying that states had the right to decide if a law was constitutional or not.
  • Even though these resolutions failed, it started the idea that the states have rights. They had signed onto the Constitution voluntarily, and could, therefore decide how to interpret it.


Let’s sneak around.

rising sectional differences
Rising Sectional Differences
  • Legislators were arguing over: 1)the sale of public lands, 2)internal improvements, and 3)tariffs in each region (sectionalism).
  • The govt. was making money by selling of some of the vast public land it had acquired (La. Purchase, Florida…).
northeast v west
Northeast v. West
  • Northeasterners didn’twant lands in the West sold cheaply because it would attract workers who were needed in factories…..They would rather move west and start a farm or ranch on their own land than work in a factory.
  • Westerners didwant low land prices in order to encourage settlement.
north and west v south
North and West v. South
  • Business leaders in the North and West wanted govt. spending on improvements like roads and canals in order to bring food and raw materials to the Northeast, and finished products to the South and West.
  • Southerners didn’t wantthe improvements because the govt. financed them through tariffs.
follow the money again
Follow the money (again)…
  • The South opposed tariffs because its economy depended on foreign trade.
  • Often they weren’t paid in money but in trade for goods or credit for goods.
  • Tariffs made foreign goods more expensive.
tariff of abominations
Tariff of Abominations

My last wonderful act.

  • In the last few months of JQ Adams’ term as president in 1828, Congress passed a huge hike in tariffs.
  • This outraged the South because they had to sell their crops at low prices to stay competitive on the world market, but the tariffs forced them to pay high prices for foreign goods.
  • The differences over tariffs helped get Jackson elected in 1828.

HA! And look who wins!

crisis over nullification
Crisis Over Nullification
  • The tariffs hit South Carolina especially hard because the economy was in a slump.
  • John C. Calhoun was Jackson’s vice-president.
  • Calhoun was from South Carolina and he wanted to find a way to keep South Carolina from seceding (leaving the Union) over the tariff issue.

Calhoun felt that the Doctrine of Nullification was the answer.

  • Jefferson had developed this concept in the Kentucky Resolution.
  • The Doctrine said that any state could nullify a law within its borders.
  • Calhoun believed that Congress had no right to impose a tariff that favored one section of the country.
states rights debate
States Rights Debate
  • In 1830 the Webster-Hayne Debate took place in the Senate.
  • Webster was from Massachusetts and Hayne was from South Carolina.
  • Webster and Hayne had a long debate on the Senate floor about states’ rights and nullification.
  • Jackson had not stated his position about the whole issue, but he was well aware of how his own Vice-President felt.
  • At a party, Jackson and Calhoun traded jabs over the issue through the use of “toasts”.
south carolina threatens to secede
South Carolina Threatens to Secede
  • Jackson wanted to avoid secession and asked Congress to reduce the tariff ,which they did in 1832.
  • South Carolina still thought the tariff was too high and nullified the Tariffs of 1828 AND 1832.
  • At the same session of state congress, South Carolina set aside money to build its own army.

Jackson was furious over this reaction and threatened to hang the state’s leaders.

  • Jackson won the 1832 election without Calhoun, and he made it clear that he would use force to keep South Carolina in the Union.
  • Our old friend Henry Clay offered a compromise tariff (yup, that’s why they call him the Great Compromiser) in 1833, which solved the problem for another few years.