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Most South Carolinian statesmen (John C. Calhoun, George McDuffie, Robert Hayne, James Henry Hammond, and others) denounced the federal Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 for gratifying Northern manufacturers at the expense of Southern agricultural interests. 1828’s “South Carolina Exposition and Protest” blossomed into the Convention of November 1832 at which “we, the people of South Carolina” claimed that the Tariffs and the obligations they imposed on state officials were hereafter “utterly null and void” within that state (the first Ordinance of Nullification). President Jackson responded on December 10 with his stern “Proclamation to the People of South Carolina.” A gradually less protective tariff regime was instituted on March 2, 1833, but the Compromise Tariff was passed concurrently with the Force Bill, which authorized the President to use military force to combat the obstruction of revenue collection (a cousin of the earlier Militia Acts).

The South Carolina Convention repealed its earlier Ordinance of Nullification on March 11, but it couldn’t resist engaging in a “purely symbolic gesture”—purporting to nullify the Force Bill. Even if the resulting document is a historical footnote, it remains among the permanent records of Congress:

An official attestation of the document’s authenticity:

This ordinance condemned the Force Bill as “unauthorized by the Constitution of the United States, subversive of that Constitution, and destructive of public liberty.” Much more ominously, the Convention declared that South Carolinians owed “allegiance” to their state but only “obedience” to the federal government. The General Assembly was “hereby empowered” to compel the state’s citizens to reaffirm their allegiance to South Carolina and abjure allegiance to any other political entity. (Read the full ordinance here.)

Robert Hayne, President of the Convention, had recently resigned his Senate seat to become Governor of South Carolina. He’s most famous today for having served as a certain New Englander’s interlocutor in the legendary Webster-Hayne debate on the nature of the Union.

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