The Nullification Crisis resulted from a confrontation between South Carolina and the federal government over federal tariffs, which South Carolinians felt were punitive to the South as it relied heavily on manufactured goods. South Carolina believed federal tariffs were unconstitutional and void within the boundaries of the state. Courts disagreed. In Washington, an open split on the issue occurred between Andrew Jackson and his Vice President, John C. Calhoun, a native of South Carolina. The conclusion of the crisis provided an important benchmark for federal sovereignty over the states being able to secede.
ANDREW STEVENSON, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia, favored a strong federal government so much so that James Madison recognized his contributions in a personal letter to him, dated a couple weeks prior to the letter offered here [copy included]. Madison thanked him for rescuing “the proceedings of Virginia...from misconstructions and misapplications...” Madison, considered the most important Founding Father, favored a strong federal government.
2 pp, 8 x 10, Washington, DC, February 18, 1833, Stevenson writes to L.D.H. Brown of Montpelier Park, VA, expressing his views on nullification, secession and electing the President during the height of the crisis.
“...We are indeed in a state of great excitement! The times are sadly out of joint; & what with nullification, secession & President making, the whole country is to be thrown into a flame! I with all my heart [see] us clear of all broken down Politicians. It is they who stir up the elements of hope & keep the cauldron boiling! The excitement as you may imagine is very great here! I cannot see what will be done with the Tariff. It is doubtful whether any Bill will pass out this session...The Funding Bill will probably pass both Houses...
“You have seen my views on secession...[They] have been approved by many of my friends in various parts of my District! Mr. Madison compliments...& says I should be true run of the Doctrines...
“If nullification & secession are the true doctrines of the Constitution, our Union is not North...A. Stevenson”
Even toning. Integral address leaf with Free Frank, a second Stevenson signature. Two seal tears not affecting the writing.
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