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Nullification Proclamation: Primary Documents in American History

On December 10, 1832, Andrew Jackson issued a Proclamation to the People of South Carolina in response to the nullification crisis. This guide provides access to digital materials at the Library of Congress, external websites, and a print bibliography.

Introduction

On December 10, 1832, President Andrew Jackson issued a Proclamation to the People of South Carolina  (also known as the “Nullification Proclamation”) that disputed a states' right to nullify a federal law. Jackson's proclamation was written in response to an ordinance issued by a South Carolina convention that declared that the tariff acts of 1828 and 1832 "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." Led by John C. Calhoun, Jackson's vice president at the time, the nullifiers felt that the tariff acts of 1828 and 1832 favored Northern-manufacturing interests at the expense of Southern farmers. After Jackson issued his proclamation, Congress passed the Force Act that authorized the use of military force against any state that resisted the tariff acts. In 1833, Henry Clay helped broker a compromise bill with Calhoun that slowly lowered tariffs over the next decade. The Compromise Tariff of 1833 was eventually accepted by South Carolina and ended the nullification crisis.