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Compromise Without Resolution

November 4, 2014

The November 1832 Ordinance of Nullification was essentially an ultimatum which South Carolina gave to the U.S. government.  If Congress and the President did not repeal the 1828 and 1832 tariffs by February 1, 1833, then South Carolina would discontinue enforcement.

The nation preemptively responded by re-electing President Jackson, who was ready to meet South Carolina’s challenge with military force.  Vice President Calhoun, who was not on the 1832 ticket, resigned in December in order to serve as U.S. Senator from South Carolina.

Although Jackson could have responded solely on his own initiative, he asked Congress to authorize the use of force.  When Congress passed the Force Bill, they also sent Jackson a revised tariff.  Jackson then signed both pieces of legislation.

South Carolina accepted the new tariff but declared the Force Act to be null and void.  This allowed the wayward state to believe they had won an honorable resolution to the crisis.

But the same issues would arise in 1850 and 1860.  In 1850 there would be further compromise, but in 1860 South Carolina would go one step beyond nullification.  They would secede from the Union.

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