Home » Today In Charleston History » Today In Charleston History: May 19

Today In Charleston History: May 19

1828-Nullification Crisis-“Tariff of Abominations”

The Tariff of 1828 was passed by Congress, designed to protect industry in the northern United States. It was signed by President John Quincy Adams. It became known as the Tariff of Abominations in the South due to the negative effects it had on the antebellum Southern economy.It so enraged South Carolina that the state legislature denounced it by formal resolution and published an “Expositon and Protest,” secretly written by Vice-President John C. Calhoun. The “Exposition” claimed that: 

  • Congress cannot extend its constitutional authority;
  • Congress cannot enact tariffs that are not justified by public necessity
  • The tariff is therefore unconstitutional
  • The tariff to protect domestic manufacture goes against a “simple, consolidated government”
  • The tariff actually was not enacted to regulate commerce, a Constitutional power of Congress, but to prohibit foreign trade
  • The power to protect manufacture is not a Constitutional power
  • Even if the tariff does regulate commerce, as it is too oppressive, it is an abuse of power


Reuben Roberts, a Negro cook aboard a British schooner, the Clyde, was arrested by Charleston sheriff Jeremiah D. Yates and confined to jail, citing the 1835 Seaman’s Act. 

1856-Road to Secession  

Sen. Charles Sumner

Sen. Charles Sumner

On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Charles Sumner (Mass), gave his “Crime Against Kansas” speech. Sumner spoke out against slavery, and specifically called out South Carolina senator Andrew Butler, one of the authors of the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. 

The senator from South Carolina has read many books of chivalry, and believes himself a chivalrous knight with sentiments of honor and courage. Of course he has chosen a mistress to whom he has made his vows, and who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight — I mean the harlot, slavery. For her his tongue is always profuse in words. Let her be impeached in character, or any proposition made to shut her out from the extension of her wantonness, and no extravagance of manner or hardihood of assertion is then too great for this senator.

Sen. Andrew Pickens Butler

Sen. Andrew Pickens Butler

2 thoughts on “Today In Charleston History: May 19

  1. Pingback: Today In Charleston History: May 22 | MarkJonesBooks

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