Synopses & Reviews
The Nullification Crisis of 1832-33 is undeniably the most important major event of Andrew Jackson's two presidential terms. Attempting to declare null and void the high tariffs enacted by Congress in the late 1820s, the state of South Carolina declared that it had the right to ignore those national laws that did not suit it. Responding swiftly and decisively, Jackson issued a Proclamation reaffirming the primacy of the national government and backed this up with a Force Act, allowing him to enforce the law with troops. Although the conflict was eventually allayed by a compromise fashioned by Henry Clay, the Nullification Crisis raises paramount issues in American political history. The Union at Risk studies the doctrine of states' rights and illustrates how it directly affected national policy at a crucial point in 19th-century politics. Ellis also relates the Nullification Crisis to other major areas of Jackson's administration--his conflict with the National Bank, his Indian policy, and his relationship with the Supreme Court--providing keen insight into the most serious sectional conflict before the Civil War.
"An outstanding addition to the literature on Jacksonian democracy and should become a standard source on the nullification crisis....Ellis has given a fresh interpretation to a familiar topic and has offered a convincing reassessment of the broader significance of the nullification crisis in Jacksonian democracy."--History: Reviews of New Books
"A superb study, adding new information and insights into our understanding of the Nullification Controversy of 1832-1833. It is richly textured with valuable details on both the national and state levels and quite outstandingly demonstrates a sophistication of understanding about the political maneuvering that occurred."--Civil War History
"Makes a significant contribution to political and constitutional history."--The Historian
"Extensively researched and thought-provoking....[Ellis's] discussion has rich detail and much novelty....Its strength lies in its reconstruction of a dramatic historical moment with an informative emphasis upon its constitutional importance."--Georgia Historical Quarterly
"A fine study by a masterly political historian."--Merrill D. Peterson, University of Virginia