States’ Rights


US History Age of Jackson and Westward Expansion States' Rights
Students learn about the South Carolina Nullification Crisis and Andrew Jackson's Nullification Proclamation. Then, they research current situations where states have taken action to nullify federal laws.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the South Carolina Nullification Crisis and Andrew Jackson’s Nullification Proclamation. Then, they research current situations where states have taken action to nullify federal laws.

Students will be working with small groups for scene 1 through scene 4. Divide students into their small groups before beginning the experience.

Objective:

  • Explain the issues of nullification and states’ rights.


From the beginning of the establishment of the United States government, there has been an ongoing struggle between the rights of the states and the rights of the federal government. Federalists believed in a strong central government while Democrats felt that the states should determine what was best for them individually. This argument came up again during Andrew Jackson’s presidency in a conflict known as the South Carolina Nullification Controversy.

Objective:

  • Explain the issues of nullification and states’ rights.




Andrew Jackson


Let’s begin by thinking about the word nullify. It means to make of no use or value; to cancel out. Now, think about the word nullification and how it might apply to state and federal laws. Discuss this with your small group and answer the question below. Have one student record your answer.


What do you think the South Carolina Nullification Controversy might be about? If you don’t know, use your imaginations.

Post your answer

Review your classmates’ posts and respond to at least two of them with a question or a positive comment.


Discuss with students some of their answers and explain to them that nullification is the formal suspension by a state of a federal law within its borders. In other words, if a state feels that a federal law is not fair, it can vote to nullify the law and not to follow that law within the state.

Let students know that in this experience they will be learning about the South Carolina Nullification Controversy, the events that led up to it, and how it was resolved.


When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.
 

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