What were three disadvantages or three advantages of Andrew Jackson's Force Bill?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Advantages:

  • The Force Bill put an end to the threatened secession of South Carolina from the United States. Angry at the imposition of federal tariff laws, South Carolinians had risen up in protest, and feelings were running so high that the state's political leaders had threatened to secede from the Union over the issue. Though certainly a blunt instrument, the Force Bill affirmed the political and legal supremacy of the federal government over the states, thus diffusing a volatile situation.
  • The Force Bill created enough breathing space for the introduction of the Compromise Tariff of 1833, which ended the so-called Nullification Crisis.
  • By extending the jurisdiction of the federal courts to include revenue collection, the Force Bill made it easier for the Federal government to collect taxes, thus ensuring a much more efficient revenue flow.

Disadvantages:

  • Through its draconian measures, the Force Bill made it harder for the states to pursue remedies for legitimate grievances. The Bill gave the president wide discretionary powers that could be used to crack down on all forms of civil disobedience. These powers were so broad that they could easily be used to stifle legitimate dissent.
  • The Force Bill fundamentally altered the balance of power between the federal government and the states, and not for the better. By giving the federal government the power to close ports and harbors, the Bill was undermining the tradition of states' rights, which had been such an important part of the American system of government.
  • Due to its tough measures, the Force Bill generated considerable bad blood in the South, which stoked up tensions in the long run.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team