As the preeminent spokesman for the South, Calhoun tried to reconcile the preservation of the Union with the fact that under the Union the South's dominant agricultural economy was being neglected and even injured for the benefit of the ever-increasing commercial and industrial power of the North. When a still higher tariff replaced (1832) the Tariff of Abominations of 1828, he maintained that the Constitution, rightly interpreted, gave a state the power to nullify federal legislation inimical to its interests. He returned to South Carolina, had a state convention called, and directed the passage of the famous ordinance of nullification.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.