Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Q&A on Nullification and Interposition

 fort moultrie

 The Tariff must be reduced; it was grinding the South to powder. The northern manufacturers were declaring dividends of 25 and 30 per cent per annum, while the poor farmer at the South could scarcely "make both ends meet." The Tariff  must be reduced - it made the rich richer and the poor poorer.

 23. " Tarif"
When the Saracens and Moors, in the 8th century invaded and devastated the rich and beautiful provinces of Spain, they were commanded by a general whose name was Tarif, who had but one eye (See Anquetil's Universal History) - Our Tariff must be a descendant of this infamous destroyer, and inherits his defect of having but one eye, as it can see but one interest, and in one direction."

“Nullification” was a derogatory, negative-sounding term invented by the opponents of the right. The proper name is State Interposition.

Q: What can I read that can give me a serious overview of the true impact of the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 on South Carolina?

A: I think the question of the impact of the protective tariff on South Carolina is the wrong question to ask. It is something of a diversionary tactic, for reasons I will try to explain below.

The questions to ask about that period of American history are 1) was the protective tariff just? 2) was it good policy? 3) was it constitutional?. A believer in free markets and constitutionally limited government can only give a resounding NO to all these questions.

It was not just South Carolina that objected to the tariff. From the earliest national period John Taylor’s writings and John Randolph’s speeches, along with many other Southern spokesman, were eloquent and firm on the unjustness of the “protective” tariff. From 1824 on, every Southern legislature strongly condemned the tariff. The only difference was that only South Carolina was willing to go to the extent of actual nullification. This was not because South Carolina had suffered any more than others, but because South Carolina was the only State in which decisions could be made without the input of national party leaders who wanted to avoid hard issues.


  1. I did some reading on Spain and the Muslim conquest. My impression is that it was very bad news for Spain.