How Did Andrew Jackson Respond to the Nullification Crisis?

President Andrew Jackson, in response to the nullification crisis of 1832, threatened to send federal troops to any state that tried to “nullify” federal laws. The action was directed at the state of South Carolina, whose leaders, led by John C. Calhoun, opposed a tariff bill passed by U.S. Congress. Ultimately, a compromise was reached and armed conflict did not occur.

The main reason for the nullification crisis was a tariff, or tax, that was placed on imports in 1828. Several southern states, including South Carolina, opposed the tax because they felt it harmed their economies. The tax hurt British manufacturers who purchased large amounts of cotton from southern states.

To deal with the issue, South Carolina’s political leaders came up with the concept of nullification. They claimed that a state had the right to ignore, or nullify, any federal law within its borders. President Jackson made it clear that he intended to send in the military to enforce the tariff law if necessary. This possibility was prevented when Henry Clay, a powerful congressman, brokered a deal that lowered the tax rates on imports. Congress passed a new tariff law with lower rates and the crisis came to an end.