Resistance Is NOT Futile: Forgotten Lessons from the Nullification Crisis


08. Jan, 2010

The Tenth Amendment Center

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by Josh Eboch

Even as calls for nullification of proposed federal health care mandates have intensified on the state level, an almost hysterical effort has arisen to discredit such measures, and paint them as part of an obsolete theory with no bearing on modern politics.

We will nullify actions on Health Care and Banning of Guns

Regardless of its logical descent from our most basic founding principle, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, nullification simply doesn’t work, critics say.

Or does it?

While it’s true that our system of checks and balances has been weakened substantially over the years, federalism itself has not. Divided power remains as viable a structure of government as it was the day our Constitution was ratified. Perhaps a better question is: Can nullification succeed peacefully?

Of course! It already has. For proof, one need look no further than the truth behind a favorite parable of establishment statists, the Nullification Crisis of 1832-33.

Over the years, that crucial victory for the sovereign states has been converted into a cautionary tale by those who wish to discourage taxpayers from ever questioning their federal masters. So distorted is the history that a recent article on modern nullification efforts in the Nashville City Paper declared

In the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s, South Carolina passed a law nullifying federal tariffs, but the state backed down after President Andrew Jackson sent Navy warships to the Charleston harbor.

The only problem with that story is it never happened.  Complete Story

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