Define Nullification.


In relation to US history, nullification definition implies a state’s right to refuse to recognize Congressional law.


The right of nullification is based on the theory that the United States is the result of an interstate treaty, and they have the right not to comply with federal laws if the latter exceeds its delegated authority. All nullification examples root from the principle that was first formulated in the Virginia-Kentucky resolution (1798), initiated by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in response to the adoption of reactionary laws on foreigners and subversive activities by the federal authorities. In practice, the threat of nullification arose after the introduction of tax rates in 1828 and 1832. The opponent of the introduction of tariffs was Vice President John C. Calhoun, who, referring to the doctrine of nullification, argued that any state had the right to block the introduction of federal law in its territory.

Under these conditions, the South Carolina legislature adopted the Ordinance of Nullification and threatened to secede if the federal government forces the state to collect taxes according to new tariffs. In turn, President Andrew Jackson announced the supremacy of decisions at the federal level. The US Congress made a compromise decision to lower tax rates, but also reaffirmed the right of the federal government to enact laws by force. The Legislature of South Carolina, in turn, canceled its ordinance. Nullification became one of the legal premises for the secession of the southern states in 1861. This doctrine lost its meaning after the defeat of the South in the US Civil War. The right of nullification would serve as a good incentive to ensure that some laws are not automatically distributed throughout the country but are rejected at the level of the state as unconstitutional, contrary to the direct interests of its inhabitants.

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