Upon taking office in 1828, JACKSON faced a crisis over the 1828
TARIFF, which increased the taxes on imported goods.
NORTHERN MANUFACTURERS and WESTERN FARMERS liked the
tariff. High prices on foreign goods made it easier for them to sell
their products to AMERICANS.
SOUTHERNERS hated the tariff. Because the SOUTH used many
imported goods, the tariff raised the price of nearly everything
the region bought. They nicknamed the tariff the TARIFF OF
JOHN C. CALHOUN, Jackson’s VICE PRESIDENT and a
SOUTHERNER, believed that the states could refuse to pay the
tariff because they considered it unconstitutional. This philosophy
was known as STATES’ RIGHTS---the belief that an individual state
may restrict federal authority.
As the debate raged over the tariff and the rights of states,
SOUTHERNERS began to promote the notion of NULLIFICATION, or
the right of states to declare federal laws illegal.
President JACKSON vigorously opposed the idea of
nullification. The issue so divided JACKSON and
CALHOUN that CALHOUN resigned as VICE PRESIDENT
In 1832, Congress lowered the taxes on imports. The
SOUTH, however, wanted them lowered even further.
SOUTH CAROLINA responded by passing the
NULLIFICATION ACT. This law declared the tariff “NULL
AND VOID.” The people of SOUTH CAROLINA also
threatened to SECEDE, or leave the Union, if the
federal government challenged the state law.
JACKSON vowed to use force to uphold the FEDERAL
LAW. SOUTH CAROLINA backed down and repealed
the NULLIFICATION ACT.
By the 1820s, only about 120,000 NATIVE AMERICANS lived east of
the MISSISSIPPI RIVER. Southern planters wanted their lands and
pressured the Native Americans to move west.
In 1828, the CHEROKEE asked the Supreme Court to defend their
rights to remain on land in Georgia. The Court sided with the
CHEROKEE and declared that Georgia’s attempts to remove
them were UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
JACKSON ignored the Supreme Court’s decision. He persuaded
Congress to pass the INDIAN REMOVAL ACT OF 1830. The act
provided funds for the federal government to remove NATIVE
AMERICANS from the eastern United States.
Soon, the federal government began forcing NATIVE
AMERICANS to move west. The CHEROKEE held out until 1838. As
they headed west, many CHEROKEE succumbed to the brutal
weather of the Great Plains. By the time they reached their
destination, about 1/8 of the travelers had died. As a result, the
forced trek became known as the TRAIL OF TEARS.