Jackson's Proclamation to the People of South Carolina (December 10, 1832)
JACKSON's PROCLAMATION TO THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH CAROLINA (December 10, 1832)
On November 24, 1832, a state convention adopted the south carolina ordinance of nullification declaring that the federal tariff acts of 1828 and 1832 were "null, void, and no law, nor binding upon this State, its officers or citizens." Sixteen days later President andrew jackson responded with a proclamation directed at the people of South Carolina, rather than at the state government. Jackson declared the nullification ordinance "incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed." After a detailed and withering analysis of the legality and constitutionality of the ordinance, Jackson turned to the question of secession, which South Carolina threatened if the tariffs were enforced in that state. Jackson warned the people of South Carolina that "Disunion by armed force is treason " and that on their heads "may fall the punishment" for that crime. Congress subsequently modified the tariffs but also passed the force act authorizing the use of military power to enforce federal laws. South Carolina then repealed its Nullification Ordinance, but in a final flurry of defiance passed an ordinance purporting to nullify the Force Act.