Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster
Nullification”. Daniel Webster strongly disagreed with this proposal and showed this by giving powerful support to President Jackson in resisting the attempt by South Carolina to nullify the Tariff of abominations’, as they called it; a shipping tax passed in 1828 that they saw as unfairly favoring the industrial North.
Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser, didn’t seem to be partisan either way, and, although he was a Whig, always came up with a way to please both sides of any argument. John C.Calhoun proposed the states’ right theory and attempted to enact lubrication twice, after each of two tariffs that South Carolinians saw as one sided and unconstitutional was passed, first in 1828 and the second in 1832. Calhoun felt that his beloved South Carolina, and the south in general, were being exploited by the tariffs. These pieces of legislature, Calhoun argued, favored the manufacturing interests in New England and protected them from foreign competition. Calhoun wrote the South Carolina Exposition for his state’s legislature in 1828. It declared that no State was bound by a federal law which it believed was unconstitutional.
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The secession of South Carolina from the Union was the most extreme way that the South argued for states’ rights. John C. Calhoun was, perhaps, best remembered for his part in inspiring the South’s effort to achieve national independence in the Civil War, even though it took place nearly twelve years after his death. Daniel Webster was one of the best orators in the United States during his time and, perhaps, ever. While arguing that the Constitution had created a single, unified nation he put up strong opposition to nullification. When Webster spoke on the senate floor, he left everyone in awe.He was a magnificent lawyer and a convincing speaker.
Daniel Webster was probably best remembered for his role in the short story “The Devil and Daniel Webster”. Henry Clay was, perhaps, the greatest compromiser of all time, authoring such documents as the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, and the 1833 compromise bill that gradually lowered the tariff which the South had been so angry about. His view on states’ rights was that they should work with the federal government to come to come to a compromise on the issue. Henry Clay was best remembered for his support of the Compromise of 1850.These three men were very different in a time of more partisanship and anger that today. I believe that the nation was fortunate to have Henry Clay, for without him, the Civil War might have come sooner. I also believe that if he hadn’t died in 1852, but lived until 1865, the Civil War might have been prevented; or at least, delayed.
I admire Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun, not for their ideas, but for the way that they fought for what they believed in. It is thanks to these Webster and Calhoun, and men like them, that the Civil War was fought, and thanks to Clay, and men like him, that the Civil war was ended.