Andrew Jackson's Presidency Questions and Answers

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How did Andrew Jackson refute South Carolina’s justification for secession?

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President Andrew Jackson reacted quite strongly to the threat of nullification and secession that South Carolina posed. He went as far as to request that Congress authorize the use of the federal army to enforce the law in South Carolina. Additionally, Jackson took the role of collecting tariffs away from the customs houses located in South Carolinian ports and transferred it to federal ships and forts under the Force Bill which he introduced to Congress.

Jackson knew that he could not simply threaten South Carolinians into compliance. That is why he (somewhat reluctantly) signed a compromise bill authored by Henry Clay with the support of John C. Calhoun that gradually lowered the tariffs and allowed South Carolina to comply with federal law without losing face.

South Carolina's threats of secession raised an interesting and unprecedented problem for the Jackson administration. The Constitution does not lay out any instructions for if and how a state could leave the Union. Jackson took...

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