America In the Early 19th Century

Topic: The Nullification Crisis of 1832

Table of Contents
Vocabulary Terms and Identifications
Important Cartoons
Biographies of Key Historical Figures


     The Nullification Crisis of 1832 occurred when South Carolina felt that they would not have to enforce laws created by Congress if they felt it was unconstitutional.  This theory is known as States' Rights. This idea began when the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions said that the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1789 were unconstitutional.
    South Carolina felt that the Tariff of 1828 was unconstitutional. They threatened to secede or leave the Union if it wasn't changed. John C. Calhoun didn't want that to happen so he tried to think of an alternative. He came up with Nullification or the idea that states wouldn't have to follow laws created by the Congress. If this was enforced then South Carolina could stay in the Union and not have to pay the tariff.
    In the years 1860-1861 about 11 Southern States succeeded from the Union because they believed so strongly in the idea of states' rights, especially over the issue of slavery. The Civil War was brought about, in part, by states that would be separated over the idea of states' rights, especially whether or not the Federal government is more powerful than the state governments. It was one idea that changed the course of our government.

Vocabulary and Identifications

1) States Rights: The idea that states may nullify federal laws.

2) Secession: Breaking away from the Union.

3) Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions: Both parties said that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional and Kentucky also said that if Congress violates the Constitution then states should have to right to nullify the law.

4) Nullification: The idea that states should not have to enforce laws created  by Congress if they felt it was unconstitutional.

5) The Force Bill: authorized Andrew Jackson to use force to preserve the Union.

Important Cartoons

Cartoon: Nulification

Andrew Jackson prevents nullification by South Carolina

Biographies of Important People
Andrew Jackson
     Andrew Jackson was the President during the time when the idea of Nullification came about and into the minds of American citizens. He was elected in the year 1828 with John C. Calhoun as his Vice - President.
     Andrew Jackson didn't like the idea of Nullification because he felt it was treasonous. His view was best expressed in his toast at a Democratic Party banquet
     "Our Federal Union - it must be preserved."
     During his term as President he dealt with the major problem of South Carolina threatening to secede from the Union. John Calhoun brought up the idea of nullification as a alternative to succession. 
      South Carolina said that they would secede if the "Tariff of Abominations" wasn't changed. Jackson made sure that the tariff was enforced and would be collected in the port of Charleston, South Carolina.
      At Jackson's request Congress passed a Force Bill to bring up Jackson's position. The force bill said that he could use military force to keep the Union together. 
     Jackson went though a tough term but nullification wasn't over then and it didn't stop until after the Civil War. 


Written by Heather V. 

John C. Calhoun
     John C. Calhoun was the Vice- President during the time that he brought up the idea of Nullification. He was the Vice- President when Andrew Jackson was the President. They really didn't get along because they seemed to want different things. 



1) Who was the president during the nullification period?
a) John Calhoun
b) Bill Clinton
c) Andrew Jackson
d) Puff Daddy

2) Who brought up the idea of Nullification?
a) George Washington
b) John Calhoun
c) Andrew Jackson
d) Brittany Spears

3) What state threatened to secede if the " Tariff of Abominations " wasn't changed?
a) Virginia
b) California
c) China
d) South Carolina

4) Who was Andrew Jackson's Vice- President in 1828?
a) John Calhoun
b) Joshua Jackson
c) Garth Brooks
d) Cory Cox

5) Nullification was an alternative to...
a) sight
b) succession
c) working on Saturday
d) watching bad television shows

6) What was the Force Bill?
a) bill saying violence couldn't be used to preserve the union.
b) bill saying that trash men got a twenty dollar pay raise
c) bill saying that Andrew Jackson was authorized to use violence to preserve the Union
d) bill saying that the president would get in trouble for any violence against the South

7) Why was the Force Bill passed?
a) was passed to allow the president to use violence against the south
b) was passed to allow everybody to watch TV on the weekends
c) was passed to let everybody go over the speed limit anytime the wanted
d) was passed to lower unemployment

8) What were the first states to use a form of Nullification?
a) New York and Rhode Island
b) Canada and England
c) Kentucky and Florida
d) Virginia and Kentucky

9) What does succession mean?
a) to break away
b) to glue together
c) to tear apart
d) to unite

10) What does Nullification mean?
a) states did not have to enforce laws passed by Congress if they felt it was unconstitutional
b) Congress did have to pass laws presented to them
c) Congress passed half of the bills presented to them
d) all laws had to be passed by Congress


Answers to the quiz:

1) c. Andrew Jackson
2) b. John Calhoun
3) d. South Carolina
4) a. John Calhoun
5) b. succession
6) The Force Bill was a bill that said that Andrew Jackson could use violence to keep the Union together.
7) The Force bill was passed to uphold Jackson's position.
8) Virginia and Kentucky
9) Succession means to break away or leave the Union.
10) a. states did not have to enforce laws passed by Congress if they felt it was unconstitutional

Student authors:

Written by Heather V., Matt Y., and Chris P.

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