Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Daniel Jordan


The year 1832 found the United States in the midst of acute internal turmoil. Plagued by numerous and various problems, the Union felt its bonds strained to the bursting point. A serious rupture between the states and the federal government seemed imminent.

Congress in 1828 had enacted a tariff, known in the South as the Tariff of Abominations, which boosted the duties on certain manufactured goods and raw materials from about 37 per cent to 45 per cent. An effort by the South was made in 1832 to reduce this onerous burden. However, the new tariff law fell far short of Southern expectations, for the West and the Middle Atlantic regions continued to insist on protection.

While the national controversy raged, Virginia was called to play a modest role in the nullification drama. The script itself was but a clever adaption of the one written by two great Virginians, Jefferson and Madison, during the Alien and Sedition Act dispute of 1798-99. The nation's eyes turned expectantly toward Virginia, long-time champion of strict constitutional government, for mediation and solution to the problem.

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