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Calhoun`s Endorsement of Nullification

The passage of the Tariff of 1828 troubled Vice President Calhoun who worried about the impact of high duties upon his home state of South Carolina. Calhoun had previously supported protective tariffs, but now gave expression to his changing view in the South Carolina Exposition and Protest, which was prepared for the legislature of that state. Calhoun argued that the states had the right to oppose unconstitutional acts of Congress through the process of Nullification. On December 19, 1828, the South Carolina legislature approved the exposition and protest, which ended with a protest against the protecting duties as "unconstitutional, oppressive, and unjust." Never far from the surface, the concept of nullification emerged again in early 1830 in the famous Webster Hayne Debate. Later that spring, the president and vice president had a famous confrontation in front of a political gathering. Jackson, knowing of Calhoun’s support for nullification, stared at the Vice President and offered the toast, “Our Federal Union, it must be preserved.” Calhoun stood before the hushed audience and replied, “The Union, next to liberty, most dear.” Calhoun, a clearly ambitious man, realized by 1830 that his chances of receiving support for a presidential bid from Jackson were dead.