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  1. 1. Nullification Ali Conley Harini Muralikrishnan Shivani Upadhya Max Porazzo Jake Stanton Mark Abraham John Irwin
  2. 2. General Nullification is the legal theory that a state has the right to nullify (invalidate) any federal law that they see as unconstitutional The state, not the federal government, intimately determines and interprets the extent of the power At the Hartford Convention, the idea of nullification increasingly became associated with matters pertaining to slavery. The most famous statement of the theory of nullification, authored by John C. Calhoun, appeared in the South Carolina Exposition and protest of 1828. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (1798) declared that the states had the right to nullify laws of the federal government that had “overstepped boundaries”
  3. 3. Division Divided the national greatly Some states believed in following all federal laws, no matter what However, some states believed that they should be able to disregard (nullify) the laws as a state The Tariffs of 1816 and 1824 divided the nation Hurt the South greatly Didn’t hurt the North as much
  4. 4. States Rights vs. Federal Rights Been an issue since the Revolutionary War Opposition began with the Articles of Confederation because many people felt it was too weak States thought that they should be responsible for determining the constitutionality of laws John Calhoun was one of the main senators that supported nullification
  5. 5. Laws and Decisions Main argument: should states be able to nullify federal laws? South Carolina decided to nullify federal laws This infuriated Jackson He threatened to hang John Calhoun because of this Also threatened accusations of treason If he had hung all nullifiers, many riots would’ve arose from anger because of people who believed in the nullification theory Once states started to support the idea of nullification, the idea of unity in the nation quickly vanished Laws weren’t the same throughout the country
  6. 6. Significant Events Tariffs of 1816 and 1824 There were protectionist Tariffs Southern States’ economy suffered Northern States suffered no severe economic loss This helped spark the idea of Nullification, by John C. Calhoun Jackson’s Response Jackson was angered by this suggestion Threatened accusation of treason Threatened to Invade South Carolina and hang Calhoun It was no longer a matter of preventing the Civil War after this, it was just a matter of delaying it
  7. 7. Results Many states realized that nullification wasn’t consistent between states Didn’t earn them respect from the federal government Led to secession This secession of states eventually became one of the top five reasons for the Civil War
  8. 8. What Would We Do? Our group would be inclined to accepting the federal laws, because municipalities that can veto the power of the combined municipalities negates the need for a combination of powers in the first place.
  9. 9. Today Nullification, and the concept surrounding it, has become a hot topic in the current session of Congress. The concept that 2/3 of states can disagree with a bill signed into law by the federal government as unconstitutional is becoming more of a reality. With the healthcare reform in dramatic debate many citizens either want to repeal the law in its entirety or change certain aspects before it goes into full effect. Usually the use of the 2/3 concept is rare and does not have enough support - yet there is potential to actually repeal the law, formally called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The current context of nullification has multiple similarities to the events leading up to the Civil War.
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  11. 11. Bibliography Andrews, E. Benjamin. "1869-1868 Chapter II Secession." civl war. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2011. <>. Digital History. “The Pre-Civil War Era Timeline.” Digital History. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2011. <>. Ellis, Richard E. "Nullification Proclamation: Nullification Crisis" Thomas Legion. Thomas Legion, 1992. Web. 7 Jan. 2011. <>. Hickey, Nancee. "The Nullification Crisis." Culture History. N.p., 2000. Web. 4 Jan. 2011. <>. Kelly, Martin. "Top 5 Causes of the Civil War." About.American History. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2011. <>. "Nullification Background." Congressional Compass. N.p., 23 Aug. 2008. Web. 1 Jan. 2011. <>. "Nullification Crisis." America's Civil War. Georgia's Blue and Gray Trail, 2011. Web. 07 Jan. 2011. <>. "Nullification Crisis." Aadet. Aadet, n.d. Web. 9 Jan. 2011. <>. "Nullification Crisis." Country Studies. Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, 2011. Web. 07 Jan. 2011. <>. "Nullification Crisis." New World Encyclopedia. N.p., 3 Apr. 2008. Web. 2 Jan. 2011. <>. "Nullification Crisis - States." United States History. Online Highways - Travel and History, 2011. Web. 07 Jan. 2011. <>. "Nullification Proclamamtion." Web Guides. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2011. <>. Streich, Michael. "The Nullification Crisis of 1832." Suite101. N.p., 30 Aug. 2009. Web. 20 Dec. 2011. <>. Taussig, F. W. “The Tariff History of the United States (Part I).” Teaching American History. N.p., 2010. Web. 6 Jan. 2011. <>. "The Road to Nullification in South Carolina (1828-1832)." Congressional Compass. N.p., 24 Aug. 2008. Web. 5 Jan. 2011. < nullification-south-carolina-1828-1832>.