What if South Carolina had seceded in 1832?

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Would Andrew Jackson have used force to stop South Carolina from seceding in 1832?

  • Yes

    Votes: 14 93.3%
  • No

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    15

BuckeyeWarrior

Corporal
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
I‘be seen on some civil war discussions people claiming that Andrew Jackson was just threatening force against South Carolina and would not have actually used force. I am decidedly not in that camp but wonder what people here think and why. For evidence I present the memo he sent to his secretary of war during the nullification crisis.

TO SECRETARY OF WAR CASS.

Washington, December 17, 1832.

confidential

My D'r sir, If I can judge from the signs of the times Nullification, and secession, or in the language of truth, disunion, is gaining strength, we must be prepared to act with promptness, and crush the monster in its cradle before it matures to manhood. We must be prepared for the crisis. The moment that we are informed that the Legislature of So Carolina has passed laws to carry her rebellious ordinance into effect, which I expect tomorrow we must be prepared to act. Tenders of service is coming to me daily and from New York, we can send to the bay of charleston with steamers such number of troops as we may please to order, in four days.

We will want three divisions of artillery, each composed of nines, twelves, and Eighteen pounders, one for the East, one for the west, and one for the center divisions. How many of these calibers, are ready for field service How many musketts with their compleat equipments are ready for service. How many swords and pistols and what quantity of fixed ammunition for dragoons, Brass pieces for the field, how many, and what caliber. At as early a day as possible, I wish a report from the ordinance Department, on this subject, stating with precision, how many peaces of artillery of the caliber, are ready for the field, how many good musketts etc. etc., and at what place in deposit.

yrs. respectfully,
Andrew Jackson

Someone who is just blustering would not take the step of asking about and planning an attack. Also knowing Jackson’s history he was not a man to threaten someone idly.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

Corporal
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
Andy simply would not tolerate treason.

That's why no secession in 1832.

That, and there was no support from other states to support such a move.

South Carolina knew it could not do such alone. Hence the wait, until the true issue came to the fore.

Slavery.
Agree completely. Would love to know the reasoning of the one no vote in the pole. Andrew Jackson was not a man to cross.


When a visitor from South Carolina asked if Jackson had any message he wanted relayed to his friends back in the state. Jackson's reply was:
“Yes I have; please give my compliments to my friends in your State and say to them, that if a single drop of blood shall be shed there in opposition to the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man I can lay my hand on engaged in such treasonable conduct, upon the first tree I can reach.”
 
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Duncan

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Andrew Jackson was not a man with whom to be trifled. An immoral white-supremacist, cruel slave-owner, and sadistic mass-murderer of Native Americans, he would undoubtedly not hesitate to violently suppress his fellow American citizens who chose to pursue their natural right to political independence. He was very much like Abraham Lincoln.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

Corporal
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
Andrew Jackson was not a man with whom to be trifled. An immoral white-supremacist, cruel slave-owner, and sadistic mass-murderer of Native Americans, he would undoubtedly not hesitate to violently suppress his fellow American citizens who chose to pursue their natural right to political independence. He was very much like Abraham Lincoln.
Thanks for you response. Andrew Jackson was certainly not the nicest man around. Though you can see he set the precedent that Presidents Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan, and Lincoln followed when they were also faced with disunion/rebellion/secession.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Andrew Jackson was not a man with whom to be trifled. An immoral white-supremacist, cruel slave-owner, and sadistic mass-murderer of Native Americans, he would undoubtedly not hesitate to violently suppress his fellow American citizens who chose to pursue their natural right to political independence.

How many terms did he serve?

He was very much like Abraham Lincoln.

Not even close.
Unionblue
 
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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Really?

The likeness of Andrew Jackson is available, along with Lincoln, on our current currency.

You can't tell the difference?

And then there are certain historical facts that differ between the two men. Andy Jackson fought in the War of 1812, Lincoln did not.

Slavery was an issue during Jackson's term of office, but no one State (or individual person) had the courage to secede from the Union because Jackson promised swift action if such treason was attempted.

Lincoln was stuck with secession before he even took the oath of office and had to hit the ground running to confront such treason and ended up abolishing slavery.

I'm sure there are differences between the two men if one looks hard enough.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

BuckeyeWarrior

Corporal
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
Really?

The likeness of Andrew Jackson is available, along with Lincoln, on our current currency.

You can't tell the difference?

And then there are certain historical facts that differ between the two men. Andy Jackson fought in the War of 1812, Lincoln did not.

Slavery was an issue during Jackson's term of office, but no one State (or individual person) had the courage to secede from the Union because Jackson promised swift action if such treason was attempted.

Lincoln was stuck with secession before he even took the oath of office and had to hit the ground running to confront such treason and ended up abolishing slavery.

I'm sure there are differences between the two men if one looks hard enough.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
You touch upon a good point. Jackson was in no way shape or form against slavery. If South Carolina had rebelled/seceded in 1832 and Jackson had suppressed the attempt there would have been no move to end slavery. This also would have put an end to any future rebellion/secession movements because what Jackson would have done to South Carolina would make Sherman’s March to the sea look like a walk in the park. And been a warning to anyone who might contemplate disunion in the future.

In my opinion then it is a very good thing that South Carolina did not rebel/secede at that time because otherwise we might have had slavery in the US until the early to mid 20th century. You need a party and President who were anti-slavery to bring about the end of slavery.
 
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Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
Andy simply would not tolerate treason.

That's why no secession in 1832.

That, and there was no support from other states to support such a move.

South Carolina knew it could not do such alone. Hence the wait, until the true issue came to the fore.

Slavery.
What actually brought an end to the Nullification Crisis of 1832 was the Compromise Tariff of 1833. This act was implemented under Jackson’s administration and gradually reduced the tariff rates following the objections to protectionism found in the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832. The Tariff Act of 1833 directed that import fees would gradually be reduced over the following decade.
 

Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Jackson was quoted as stating that he would start hanging traitors at the South Carolina border & keep it up until his horse put its hooves into saltwater. This may be apocryphal, but it certainly characterizes Jackson's response. It is Buchanan that should be compared to Jackson in 1860. It was his weakness that emboldened the secessionists.

It was the secessionists who turned Lincoln, who held no political office & was just a lawyer living in Springfield IL, into the ten foot tall fork tailed fire breathing embodiment of evil bug-a-boo who was out to destroy slavery even before he took office. As the historic record clearly states, Lincoln's concern was preserving the Union. As he repeatedly stated, with slavery or without slavery, he would preserve the union. It was only with the passage of time that Lincoln determined that destroying the institution of slavery would become a war aim.

I live near the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's home east of Nashville TN. So have been interested in his life & times for quite a while. The assertion that Andrew Jackson & Abraham Lincoln were somehow clones is hugely amusing. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, like all true patriots, neither of them permitted the breakup of the Union. In that, if little else, they are exactly the same.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

Corporal
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
What actually brought an end to the Nullification Crisis of 1832 was the Compromise Tariff of 1833. This act was implemented under Jackson’s administration and gradually reduced the tariff rates following the objections to protectionism found in the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832. The Tariff Act of 1833 directed that import fees would gradually be reduced over the following decade.
Absolutely correct but the what if I proposed was if Jackson would have used force to suppress secession? I think based on his character, the things he said, and the steps he took during the crisis the answer is yes.
 
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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
What actually brought an end to the Nullification Crisis of 1832 was the Compromise Tariff of 1833. This act was implemented under Jackson’s administration and gradually reduced the tariff rates following the objections to protectionism found in the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832. The Tariff Act of 1833 directed that import fees would gradually be reduced over the following decade.
What actually brought an end to the Nullification Crisis, was Jackson standing firm and denying the idea that a State could defy federal law.

The Compromise Tariff of 1833 was the end result of that resolve.
 

Duncan

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
I get deep belly-laughs when I read someone suggest that Jackson and Lincoln are not carbon copies of one another. The similarities are astounding. Both born into humble frontier environments. Both had very little formal schooling. Both were autodidactic. Both became lawyers. Both served one term in Congress. Both became President. Both were white-supremacists. Both mass-murdered Native Americans. And most importantly, both vehemently opposed the right of American citizens to exercise their right to political independence and self-government. Again, I don't know how you tell them apart.

PS-Well there is this; I would rather have a pocket full of Jackson's than a pocket full of Lincoln's.
 
Last edited:

BuckeyeWarrior

Corporal
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
Jackson was quoted as stating that he would start hanging traitors at the South Carolina border & keep it up until his horse put its hooves into saltwater. This may be apocryphal, but it certainly characterizes Jackson's response. It is Buchanan that should be compared to Jackson in 1860. It was his weakness that emboldened the secessionists.

It was the secessionists who turned Lincoln, who held no political office & was just a lawyer living in Springfield IL, into the ten foot tall fork tailed fire breathing embodiment of evil bug-a-boo who was out to destroy slavery even before he took office. As the historic record clearly states, Lincoln's concern was preserving the Union. As he repeatedly stated, with slavery or without slavery, he would preserve the union. It was only with the passage of time that Lincoln determined that destroying the institution of slavery would become a war aim.

I live near the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's home east of Nashville TN. So have been interested in his life & times for quite a while. The assertion that Andrew Jackson & Abraham Lincoln were somehow clones is hugely amusing. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, like all true patriots, neither of them permitted the breakup of the Union. In that, if little else, they are exactly the same.
Agree that Jackson and Lincoln were not much alike. Also that his primary concern during the war was to save the union.

However, he had been an opponent of slavery from the beginning of his political career(and had hated slavery since his trip down the Mississippi as a young man) so he would have been the first anti-slavery President of the US.

Your right that the secessionist turned him into more than he was. He had a deep respect for the constitution and law and as President would have been constrained by that on what he could do against slavery. If the south had not seceded his biggest impact as President would have been appointing anti-slavery federal and Supreme Court justices. He most likely would have also supported any push by congress to outlaw slavery in D.C. since he had himself proposed such a law when he was in congress.

The secessionists risked everything to protect slavery but wound up making it much easier for Lincoln and the republicans to end it.
 
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Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Agree that Jackson and Lincoln were not much alike. Also that his primary concern during the war was to save the union.

However, he had been an opponent of slavery from the beginning of his political career(and had hated slavery since his trip down the Mississippi as a young man) so he would have been the first anti-slavery President of the US.

Your right that the secessionist turned him into more than he was. He had a deep respect for the constitution and law and as President would have been constrained by that on what he could do against slavery. If the south had not seceded his biggest impact as President would have been appointing anti-slavery federal and Supreme Court justices. He most likely would have also supported any push by congress to outlaw slavery in D.C. since he had himself proposed such a law when he was in congress.

The secessionists risked everything to protect slavery but wound up making it much easier for Lincoln and the republicans to end it.
Secession spawned about as many unintended consequences as could possibly be crammed into that place & time.
 

Joshism

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
Both were white-supremacists.
Jackson and Lincoln were both white supremacists by a very rigid definition of the term.

But they had very different ideas of what that meant. Jackson would have perpetuated slavery indefinitely while Lincoln wanted to end it. That's a pretty big difference.

Both mass-murdered Native Americans.
Jackson personally led armies against Native Americans on multiple occasions then had the survivors mass deported against their will.

When did Lincoln "mass-murder" Native Americans? Sand Creek was essentially a rogue operation subsequently investigated by the federal government. He commuted most of the death sentences from the Dakota War.

And most importantly, both vehemently opposed the right of American citizens to exercise their right to political independence and self-government.
So if South Carolina wants to leave the Union they are entitled to do so unilaterally, for whatever reason they chose, in whatever manner they chose?

What if the city of Charleston wanted to secede from the rest of the state?

What about the rights of the majority of South Carolinians who were enslaved blacks?

I don't know how you tell them apart.
Jackson was a Southerner who owned a plantation, an Anglophobe, and a fiscally conservative Democrat (he wouldn't have touched the 1860 Republicans with a ten foot pole except to hit them with it). He supported slavery.

Lincoln was a Northerner, to my knowledge was neutral regarding the British, and a fiscal liberal Whig (and later Republican). He opposed slavery.

Lincoln and Jackson both had little formal education and both passed the bar, but I think there's little debate that Lincoln was the better lawyer and a much more intelligent individual.
 

BuckeyeWarrior

Corporal
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
Here’s a more detailed description of the hanging statement incident;

Jackson had to deal with his own secessionists. South Carolina had threatened to secede over taxes(tariffs).. this brought on the Nullification Crisis, where South Carolina declared the tariffs Null and Void inside their state and threatened to leave the Union. To which Jackson Responded.

if one drop of blood be shed there in defiance of the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man of them I can get my hands on to the first tree I can find.’
Jackson's VP was from South Carolina, advocated secession, and was in the room when Jackson delivered that line, Jackson looking squarely at his VP.

When Robert Hayne ventured, ‘I don’t believe he would really hang anybody, do you?’
Thomas Hart Benton responded

‘Few people have believed he would hang Arbuthnot and shoot Ambrister(*) . . . I tell you, Hayne, when Jackson begins to talk about hanging, they can begin to look out for ropes!’ In January 1833,
(*)two British subjects charged with aiding Seminole and Creek Indians against the United States. Jackson captured them in Florida, and over British and Spanish protest executed both after giving them a trial which he presided over.
 
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Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Location
Georgia
Andrew Jackson was a violent man who spent much of his life on a violent frontier. I agree with Thomas Hart Benton: when Jackson threatened violence he wasn't bluffing.
AJ was known for his violent temper. He even killed a rival in a duel one time in the early 1800's. He went on to command troops during the Creek Indian Wars and the War of 1812.
 
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