The federal government believed the concept of nullification was as an attack on its powers. When in 1832, South Carolina's government quickly "nullified" the hated tariffs passed by the full Congress, President Andrew Jackson declared this an act of open rebellion and ordered U.S. ships to South Carolina to enforce the law.
In 1832, as vice president under Jackson, Calhoun went public with his ideas during the nullification crisis. Both that and the political fallout from the Petticoat affair ended friendly relations between Calhoun and Jackson. As a result, Calhoun was replaced as Jackson's running mate in the 1832 election by Martin Van Buren.
Stephens creía que un nuevo país tendría una clara delimitación entre las responsabilidades federales y estatales, y llevó a una posición similar a esta a Carolina del Sur durante la «Crisis de la Anulación» (Nullification Crisis) donde mantenía que el Gobierno federal no debía pagar las construcciones e infraestructuras internas de los estados.