Tariff of 1828

Tariff of 1828

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The Tariff of 1828 was a protective tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

 passed by the Congress of the United States on May 19, 1828, designed to protect industry in the northern United States. It was labeled the Tariff of Abominations by its southern detractors because of the effects it had on the antebellum Southern economy.

The major goal of the tariff was to protect industries in the northern United States which were being driven out of business by low-priced imported goods by putting a tax on them. The South, however, was harmed directly by having to pay higher prices on goods the region did not produce, and indirectly because reducing the exportation of British goods to the US made it difficult for the British to pay for the cotton they imported from the South. The reaction in the South, particularly in South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, would lead to the Nullification Crisis
Nullification Crisis
The Nullification Crisis was a sectional crisis during the presidency of Andrew Jackson created by South Carolina's 1832 Ordinance of Nullification. This ordinance declared by the power of the State that the federal Tariff of 1828 and 1832 were unconstitutional and therefore null and void within...

 that began in late 1832.

The Tariff marked the high point of US tariffs. It was approached, but not exceeded, by the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act of 1930.

Passage of the bill


The 1828 tariff was part of a series of tariffs that began after the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 and the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, when the blockade of Europe led British manufacturers to offer goods in America at low prices that American manufacturers often could not match. The first protective tariff was passed by Congress in 1816,; its tariff rates were increased in 1824. Southern states such as South Carolina contended that the tariff was unconstitutional and were opposed to the newer protectionist tariffs, but Western agricultural states favored them, as well as New England’s industry.

In an elaborate scheme to prevent passage of still higher tariffs, while at the same time appealing to Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

’s supporters in the North, John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

 and other southerners joined them in crafting a tariff bill that would also weigh heavily on materials imported by the New England states. It was believed that President John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

’s supporters in New England, the National Republicans, or as they would later be called, Whigs
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

, would uniformly oppose the bill for this reason and that the southern legislators could then withdraw their support, killing the legislation while blaming it on New England:

Southern opponents generally felt that the protective features of tariffs were harmful to southern agrarian interests and claimed they were unconstitutional because they favored one sector of the economy over another.  New England importers and ship owners also had reason to oppose provisions targeting their industries—provisions inserted by Democratic Party legislators to coerce New Englanders to sink the legislation.

Those in Western states and manufacturers in the Mid-Atlantic States argued that strengthening the industrial capacity of the nation was in the interest of the entire country.  This same reasoning swayed two-fifths of U.S. Representatives in the New England states to vote for the tariff increase:
House Vote on Tariff of 1828 For Against
New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

16 23
Middle States (Mid-Atlantic
Mid-Atlantic
Mid-Atlantic can refer to:*Mid-Atlantic English, a mix between British English and American English*Mid-Atlantic Region , one of the United States geographic divisions of the Little League World Series...

)
57 11
West (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri) 17 1
South (including Louisiana) 3 50
Southwest (Tennessee, Kentucky) 12 9
Total 105 94


A substantial minority of New England Congressmen (41%) saw what they believed to be long-term national benefits of an increased tariff, and voted for it; they believed the tariff would strengthen the manufacturing industry nationally (see table).

The Democratic Party had miscalculated: despite the insertion of import duties by Democrats calculated to be unpalatable to New England industries, most specifically on raw wool imports, essential to the wool textile industry, the New Englanders failed to sink the legislation, and their plan backfired.
The 1828 tariff was signed by President Adams, although he realized it could weaken him politically. In the Presidential election of 1828, Andrew Jackson defeated Adams with a popular tally of 647,286 votes and an electoral count of 178 as opposed to Adams’s 508,064 tally and 83 electoral votes.

Effects of the tariff


Faced with a reduced market for goods and pressured by British abolition
Abolition
Abolish means to put an end to something or to stop something.Abolition may refer to:*Abolitionism *Abolition of death penalty *Abolition of monarchy*Prison abolition movement...

ists, the British reduced their imports of cotton from the United States, which weakened the southern economy even more. The tariff forced the South to buy manufactured goods from U.S. manufacturers, mainly in the North, at a higher price, while southern states also faced a reduced income from sales of raw materials. Despite the sufferings of the South, the US experienced net economic growth with US GDP increasing from $888 million in 1828 to $1.118 billion by 1832 largely due to growth of the Northern manufacturing base.

Current Vice-President John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

 strongly opposed the tariff, anonymously authoring a pamphlet in December 1828 titled: The South Carolina Exposition and Protest
South Carolina Exposition and Protest
The South Carolina Exposition and Protest, also known as Calhoun's Exposition, was written in December 1828 by John C. Calhoun, then vice president under John Quincy Adams and later under Andrew Jackson. Calhoun did not formally state his authorship at the time, though it was known.The document was...

in which he urged nullification
Nullification (U.S. Constitution)
Nullification is a legal theory that a State has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional...

 of the tariff within South Carolina. The South Carolina legislature, although it printed and distributed 5,000 copies of the pamphlet, took none of the legislative action that the pamphlet urged.

The expectation of the tariff’s opponents was that with the election of Jackson in 1828, the tariff would be significantly reduced. When the Jackson administration failed to address its concerns, the most radical faction in South Carolina began to advocate that the state itself declare the tariff null and void within South Carolina.

In Washington, an open split on the issue occurred between Jackson and Vice-President Calhoun. On July 14, 1832, Jackson signed into law the Tariff of 1832
Tariff of 1832
The Tariff of 1832 was a protectionist tariff in the United States. It was largely written by former President John Quincy Adams, who had been elected to the House of Representatives and been made chairman of the Committee on Manufactures, and reduced tariffs to remedy the conflict created by the...

 which made some reductions in tariff rates. Calhoun resigned on December 10 of the same year.

The reductions were too little for South Carolina.  In November 1832 the state called for a convention.  By a vote of 136 to 26, the convention overwhelmingly adopted an ordinance of nullification drawn by Chancellor William Harper
William Harper (South Carolina)
William Joseph Harper was a jurist, politician, and social and political theorist from South Carolina.-Political career:...

.  It declared that the tariffs of both 1828 and 1832 were unconstitutional and unenforceable in South Carolina.  While the Nullification Crisis
Nullification Crisis
The Nullification Crisis was a sectional crisis during the presidency of Andrew Jackson created by South Carolina's 1832 Ordinance of Nullification. This ordinance declared by the power of the State that the federal Tariff of 1828 and 1832 were unconstitutional and therefore null and void within...

would be resolved in early 1833, tariff policy would continue to be a national political issue between the Democratic Party and the newly emerged Whig Party for the next twenty years.