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In the United States, the belief in nullification, the supposed right of a state to void a federal law on the grounds that state laws override federal laws, has its roots in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions.

In the 1832 nullification crisis, South Carolina voided a tariff that was passed by the United States federal government to benefit trade in the northern states. It was deemed a "Tariff of Abominations" and its provisions would have seriously injured South Carolina's economy had it ever been successful. Consequently, the South Carolinian ports forbade the import of goods that were affected by the tariff. The debate grew heated in the interpretation the right of South Carolina to repeal a federal law. President Andrew Jackson soon ordered troops to South Carolinian ports to ensure the importation of the affected goods. As a result, South Carolina repealed the act nullifying the federal law, and both sides of the debate claimed victory.

The crisis was a testament to the widening schism between the North and South that would soon instigate the United States Civil War.

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