Date

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Adviser

Najar, Monica

Abstract

Historians of the Nullification Crisis often argue that the leaders of the nineteenth century South Carolinian states' rights faction are best understood using an ideological framework based on constitutional views. These historians portray the John C. Calhoun faction as having shifted from a nationalist agenda, consisting of internal improvements, tariffs and the National Bank, to a states' rights agenda invested in free trade and limited federal government. In this thesis I argue, however, that using an ideological framework based on constitutional views devalues the central importance of the transatlantic commercial interests of Calhoun and his associates. I demonstrate that Calhoun and his allies had a consistent agenda of creating a "greater south," with Charleston at the center of a transatlantic commercial and political alliance. Moreover, I argue that the Calhounite ideology was incompatible with the states' rights principles of southerners who believed they belonged in the "Virginia" camp of republicans.

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