This Day in the Law
May 19

Tariff of 1828 Signed into Law (1828)

On May 19, 1828, the United States Congress passed the Tariff of 1828 in an attempt to protect industry in the United States against lower priced European goods.

The 1828 tariff was part of a series of tariffs that began after the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars. Due to the blockade of Europe, British manufacturers offered goods in America at prices American manufacturers often could not match. As a result, the first protective tariff was passed by Congress in 1816, with tariff rates increased in 1824. Southern states strongly opposed the tariffs and contended that they were unconstitutional, but the rest of the nation, particularly the Western agricultural states and New England industry states favored them.

On May 19, 1828, President John Quincy Adams signed the tariff into law. The goal of the tariff was to protect industry in the northern and southern United States by putting a tax on imported goods. The South, however, was harmed by having to pay higher prices on goods the region did not produce. By reducing the importation of British goods, it also made it difficult for the British to pay for the cotton they imported from the South. The South dubbed the Tariff of 1828 the "Tariff of Abominations."

One of the results of the Tariff of 1828 was that President Adams was defeated by Andrew Jackson in the presidential election of 1828 by a huge margin because he had no support from the Southern states. Further, the Tariff of 1828 is seen as one of the many catalysts of the Civil War. It was declared unconstitutional in 1832.