The Great Compromise Of 1850 Jefferson Davis

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Jefferson Davis In the aftermath of the passage of the Great Compromise of 1850 Jefferson Davis, Senator from Mississippi, rose to refute the allegations and insinuations of his opponents that his object in the recent crisis, and that of many Southern Democrats, had been the dissolution of the Union of the States created by the Constitution of 1789. "Lightly and loosely," he observed, "representatives of the Southern people have been denounced as disunionists by that portion of the Northern press which most disturbs the harmony and endangers the perpetuity of the Union. Such, even, has been my case, though a man does not breathe at whose door the charge of disunion might not as well be laid as at mine. The son of a revolutionary soldier,…show more content…
During the War of 1812 the New England States had refused to lend their assistance to the projects of conquest contemplated by a Federal Government dominated by Western and Southern Statesmen, and in 1814 a Convention had met at Hartford Connecticut to consider the possibility of secession. Only the unexpected receipt of news of an armistice, and the pusillanimity of the Convention's leaders, had averted the dissolution of the Union. However, the most enduring source of sectional discord was the "American System" of protective tariffs, export bounties and internal improvements, designed by Henry Clay of Kentucky to foster American economic development in the aftermath of the second war against Great Britain. Clay's system was deeply injurious to Southern interests. For, whereas the States of the North were progressing towards a state of economic autarchy, the Southern economy was based upon the exchange of a large surplus of raw materials, most importantly cotton, for European manufactured goods. The imposition of protective tariffs artificially raised prices to the Southern consumer by up to 40% ad valorem and therefore decreased the value of cotton exported relative to goods produced for domestic consumption. Robert Barnwell Rhett, sometime Senator from South Carolina, assembled statistics which showed that in the years between 1791 and 1845, the Federal…show more content…
Whilst the strict doctrine, espoused by Calhoun and other Carolinian leaders, that a State might nullify measures it judged to be unconstitutional was never to win official acceptance, South Carolina's bold stand forced Clay and his allies in the legislature to accept tariff reductions. However, the tariff remained a potential source of sectional discord until 1846 when the Democratic Congressional majority, with the support of President Polk, effectively put an end to the protective system and signaled its intention to commit the Union to free

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