Nullification Crisis Lesson Plan

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson plan gives you key terms, discussion topics, a mini-activity, a full-fledged activity, and a quiz that will help students understand the topics surrounding the Nullification Crisis of 1832.

Learning Objectives

After students have read and watched this lesson and completed the quiz and activity, they need to be able to:

  • Define the concept of nullification
  • Discuss the origin of the nullification crisis
  • Understand how it was resolved
  • Identify the key players involved in the crisis and what roles they played in its resolution


45-90 minutes without the activity


Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.


Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

Key Vocabulary

Jot down the following vocabulary terms and definitions on the board for everyone to see and copy down. Encourage your students to ask questions if something doesn't make sense. They should copy the terms and definitions for added retention.

  • Nullification
  • John C. Calhoun
  • Andrew Jackson
  • Robert Hayne
  • Daniel Webster
  • Compromise Bill
  • Tariff

Warm Up

  • To better understand how much students already know about the topic and to get them ready for discussion, you can ask them questions like:
    • Do states have to obey federal laws?
    • What is a tariff?

Instructions & Discussion Questions

  • Pass out the handout of the lesson text on the Nullification Crisis of 1832: Definition & Summary. Students should take the time to read this lesson quietly on their own during class. They should be told to take notes as they read, including notes on any questions they may have. This will ready them for the discussion to come.

Assuming everyone has finished reading and taking notes, proceed to the video version of the lesson. Here, pause at the noted time-stamps below and take some time to ask students questions to gauge their retention and understanding of the material. As suggested, describe some things that may provide your students with even more interesting information on this topic.

Don't forget to watch the lesson summary of the video lesson after the last suggested timestamp below.

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