Hayne, Robert Young

Hayne, Robert Young,

1791–1839, American statesman, b. Colleton District, S.C. Having served in the South Carolina legislature (1814–18) and as attorney general of South Carolina (1818–22), Hayne was a U.S. Senator (1823–32) and gained attention as a leading Southern spokesman against the tariff. His famous debate with Daniel Webster in Jan., 1830, precipitated by the Foot ResolutionFoot Resolution,
offered in 1829 by Samuel Augustus Foot in the U.S. Senate. This resolution instructed the committee on public lands to inquire into the limiting of public land sale.
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, covered all the issues of political and economic difference between the South and the North. Hayne upheld the doctrines of states' rights and nullificationnullification,
in U.S. history, a doctrine expounded by the advocates of extreme states' rights. It held that states have the right to declare null and void any federal law that they deem unconstitutional.
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, thus provoking Webster's impassioned defense of a nationalistic interpretation of the Constitution. Hayne resigned from the Senate (1832) and was governor of South Carolina (1832–34) at the time the nullification convention met. Henry Clay's compromise tariff satisfied Hayne, and the latter's influence palliated the ensuing high feeling. After serving (1835–37) as mayor of Charleston, Hayne devoted the rest of his life to unsuccessful railroad projects designed to ally the West with the South.


See biography by T. D. Jervey (1909, repr. 1970).

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Hayne, Robert Young

(1791–1839) U.S. senator, governor, railroad promoter; born in Colleton District, S.C. A prosperous lawyer, he held various state offices in South Carolina before going on to serve in the U.S. Senate (Dem.-Rep., 1823–32). A staunch defender of states' rights, he came to national prominence as the chief adversary of Daniel Webster in the Senate's debates (1830–32) over the issue of whether a state could "nullify" Federal legislation it did not approve of. Hayne resigned from the Senate, and as South Carolina's governor (1832–34), he led in the adoption of the nullification ordinance and then called for troops to resist any efforts by President Andrew Jackson to force South Carolina to back down. After Henry Clay managed a compromise, Hayne rescinded the ordinance. Leaving public office, he directed his energies to establishing railroad links between the South and the West; in 1836 he formed the Louisville, Cincinnati & Charleston Railroad Company and became its president, but the financial panic of 1837 ended his ambitious scheme.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.