Didn't Tariffs start the war?

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leftyhunter

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The census data for 1860 is available online. A county by county break down is available graphically. Your questions will be answered immediately. The items subject to the tariff were not consumer items, if such a term can be applied to 1860 commerce. I respectfully suggest that you are coming at this backwards. You have reached a conclusion & are hunting data to support it. Begin by finding out exactly what was subject to the tariff. Once you have established the list of items, look to see the quantity of that item was consumed in the Southern states & individual counties. Once. you have done that, you will have the means to examine the impact of the tariffs on individuals. I can save you some time. Historians have done just that already. The impact of the tariffs in place in 1860, which were lower than they were in 1840, had no measurable impact on the vast majority of white families. The data you will have gathered & your analysis that shows the lack of impact on white families will lead you, like scholars who have looked into this subject for the last 100 years to conclude that tariffs were not a significant cause of secession. Post war, however, when people were attempting to explain away the real reason they seceded, tariffs became a big deal. A modern way to look at tariffs is to ask yourself, how much have the billions of dollars worth of tariffs President Trump ordered have you personally paid? For every dollar modern tariffs U.S. consumers have paid, Southern white families paid almost nothing. The question you have to ask yourself is, would you march off & kill people over Trump's tariffs? If not, what makes you think that other people would? The tariff claim was intended to obscure the real reason the Southern states seceded.

I highly recommend that you find a history of the politics that led up to secession, starting with the 3/5th rule in the constitution. It will enlighten your understanding of what was really important to influential Southerners. Keep in mind that slave children were worth $33.00 for every inch over 4 feet at the Richmond market in August 1860. That at a time when a good wage was $15.00 a month. Think on that, a man had to work three months before his gross salary was worth one inch of a slave child. Now, that is the kind of money it is worth fighting for.
Also [USER=21069]@Union Blue,
No doubt you are correct. I just wanted those who argue that the ACW was fought over tarriffs to provide some hard data to support their argument.
If tarriffs were truly burdensome on say French wine then French wine could easily be shipped to the French Carribean islands and be smuggled in at night. The few Internal Revenue Cutter's had no search lights,radar or air support so catching smugglers was difficult at best.
Slaves in fact were smuggled into the US right up to the Civil War as Cuba was only ninety miles from Southern Florida.
Absolutely the ACW was all about slavery.
Leftyhunter
 

Rhea Cole

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Also [USER=21069]@Union Blue,
No doubt you are correct. I just wanted those who argue that the ACW was fought over tarriffs to provide some hard data to support their argument.
If tarriffs were truly burdensome on say French wine then French wine could easily be shipped to the French Carribean islands and be smuggled in at night. The few Internal Revenue Cutter's had no search lights,radar or air support so catching smugglers was difficult at best.
Slaves in fact were smuggled into the US right up to the Civil War as Cuba was only ninety miles from Southern Florida.
Absolutely the ACW was all about slavery.
Leftyhunter
Of course, there is the case of the final African slave ship that was brought in on a bet. There was no need to smuggle slaves from Cuba. As was stated explicitly at the founding of the Confederacy, the excess slaves from the Northern tier of states provided all the slaves that the lower South could ever need. There was no need for slaves from Africa or anywhere else.
 

leftyhunter

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Of course, there is the case of the final African slave ship that was brought in on a bet. There was no need to smuggle slaves from Cuba. As was stated explicitly at the founding of the Confederacy, the excess slaves from the Northern tier of states provided all the slaves that the lower South could ever need. There was no need for slaves from Africa or anywhere else.
I forget the exact details but Lincoln actually approved the execution of a convicted slave smuggler after meeting the smugglers wife who pleaded for clemency. In past threads it was stated that slave smuggling was fairly common (not to say most slaves were imported post 1803 ) and the conviction rate was very low.
Leftyhunter
 
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CW Buff

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Begin by finding out exactly what was subject to the tariff. Once you have established the list of items, look to see the quantity of that item was consumed in the Southern states & individual counties. Once. you have done that, you will have the means to examine the impact of the tariffs on individuals. I can save you some time. Historians have done just that already. The impact of the tariffs in place in 1860, which were lower than they were in 1840, had no measurable impact on the vast majority of white families. The data you will have gathered & your analysis that shows the lack of impact on white families will lead you, like scholars who have looked into this subject for the last 100 years to conclude that tariffs were not a significant cause of secession.
Your knowledge of antebellum trade is impressive. Could you recommend (a) scholarly work(s) on the subject. The more accessible (online, or available at most libraries, etc.) the better.

Previously, to me, the amount of tariffs paid at ports of importation do not provide a reliable indication. New York became the premiere port of entry for various natural reasons that favored it as transatlantic trade became increasingly efficient via larger ships, which soon translated into all the ancillaries required for an import market on a similar, grand scale. A lot of goods destined for the South came into New York and went on via the coasting trade (a lot meaning more than indicated by port of arrival analysis, rather than a majority of all imports). I have previously considered wealth to be a good indicator, with the results being 25% to the CSA states vs 75% for the rest of the Union. I believe McPherson estimated 30% (I can't remeber if that was CSA or all slave states).

Still, not sure what that or any other consideration of the share of tariffs means, considering...
I have an observation to make. Out of curiosity, I reread the Declaration of Causes for secession published by Georgia, Mississippi & Texas to see what they had to say about tariffs as a cause for their actions. There isn't a single reference to tariffs, not one. However, they were very involved with another subject. We really are spending a good deal of time going over an issue that the people who voted to secede did not consider important. For what they did declare vital is here in their own words.

Perhaps it is time to let them speak for themselves.

Georgia
georgia-jpeg.jpg
georgia-jpeg.jpg


Mississippi
mississippi-declaration-jpeg.jpg
mississippi-declaration-jpeg.jpg


Texas
texas-dexlaration-jpeg.jpg
texas-dexlaration-jpeg.jpg

What they said settles this for me.
I'll add another indicator for you (it may have been mentioned previously, I've only read the thread from pg 3 on). The major attempts of preventing secession and war, the Crittenden Compromise and the Peace Conference, dealt with one subject, slavery. These efforts included half the Southern states. I think they knew what the issue was. Many folks refer to Davis's early speeches as POTCS, which I believe do little more than place a thin veil over the issue of slavery. However, his February 1860 resolutions regarding the conflict between the states also refers to only one basic issue.
 

Rhea Cole

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Your knowledge of antebellum trade is impressive. Could you recommend (a) scholarly work(s) on the subject. The more accessible (online, or available at most libraries, etc.) the better.

Previously, to me, the amount of tariffs paid at ports of importation do not provide a reliable indication. New York became the premiere port of entry for various natural reasons that favored it as transatlantic trade became increasingly efficient via larger ships, which soon translated into all the ancillaries required for an import market on a similar, grand scale. A lot of goods destined for the South came into New York and went on via the coasting trade (a lot meaning more than indicated by port of arrival analysis, rather than a majority of all imports). I have previously considered wealth to be a good indicator, with the results being 25% to the CSA states vs 75% for the rest of the Union. I believe McPherson estimated 30% (I can't remeber if that was CSA or all slave states).

Still, not sure what that or any other consideration of the share of tariffs means, considering...

I'll add another indicator for you (it may have been mentioned previously, I've only read the thread from pg 3 on). The major attempts of preventing secession and war, the Crittenden Compromise and the Peace Conference, dealt with one subject, slavery. These efforts included half the Southern states. I think they knew what the issue was. Many folks refer to Davis's early speeches as POTCS, which I believe do little more than place a thin veil over the issue of slavery. However, his February 1860 resolutions regarding the conflict between the states also refers to only one basic issue.
Actually, I have only a passing interest in prewar trade policy. The simple reason for that is that it had no significant part in provoking the Civil War. As with all economies that produced commodities, Southern states exported raw materials & imported finished goods. Kentucky's largest export was hemp, for example. Tariffs only became a cause of the war when the Southern Historical Society latched onto it as part of the Lost Cause smokescreen used to obscure preventing abolition as the real reason for secession. Tariffs were pocket change, slaves were real money & that is where the truth obviously lies. 30 to 1 is the ratio of comparison of 1860 to 2020 dollars which puts the value of slaves in the South in 1860 at $105,000,000. You might say that number makes the tariff argument a lost cause if there ever was one.

roger-l-ransom-the-economics-of-slavery.jpg
 
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wausaubob

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The issue that cause the Southern Democrats to be politically isolated was whether slavery would be allowed to spread in the west. The Republicans steadfastly advocated keeping these lands available for northern settlers and northern railroads. They maintain that issue and won on that issue. The northern Democrats were not willing to confront the Republicans on that issue, because their urban constituents wanted the same thing.
The Republicans never allowed slavery to expand beyond Texas. As soon as the war broke out, they attacked slavery in Missouri, both officially and unofficially. That connected the Midwest to Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado, and they never gave up that connection and dominance.
It was the primary issue that in which pre war advocacy matched war operations and post war results. Building the national railroad on the Omaha to Sacramento line confirmed that this was always the main issue.
 

trice

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Rarely mentioned in these discussions is that a Tariff is merely the rate schedule to determine how a tax is applied to imports. Another thing rarely mentioned is that the importer could get a 10% discount on the Tariff by importing the goods in an American-flag ship.
 

Potomac Pride

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Ok, how many paragraphs were dedicated to that subject? Duties are not tariffs. Neither are bounties. In any case, that part of the declaration is 4% & references to slavery are almost 60%.
I believe that a tariff is a tax on imports. The definition of duties according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is:

4: TAX

especially : a tax on imports

a 15 percent duty
 
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GwilymT

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I believe that a tariff is a tax on imports. The definition of duties according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is:

4: TAX

especially : a tax on imports

a 15 percent duty
Tariffs and Duties are different. These are not interchangeable terms:

 

Potomac Pride

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Tariffs and Duties are different. These are not interchangeable terms:

What we want and what is, is very often two very different things, such as a tariff, and a duty.
Tariff
A tariff or customs duty is a tax levied upon goods as they cross national boundaries, usually by the government of the importing country. The words tariff, duty, and customs are generally used interchangeably. Since the goods cannot be landed until the tax is paid, it is the easiest tax to collect, and the cost of collection is small. Traders seeking to evade tariffs are know as smugglers.

The definition above is from newworldencyclopedia.org which states the terms tariff and duty can be used interchangeably. In fact, most professionals use the terms interchangeably, which is correct, but in some cases one is more appropriate than the other. A Tariff directly relates to the harmonized tariff system codes (HTS) which imported products are classified under by U.S. Customs. A Duty is the actual amount of money paid on the imported product.
 
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unionblue

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Tariff
A tariff or customs duty is a tax levied upon goods as they cross national boundaries, usually by the government of the importing country. The words tariff, duty, and customs are generally used interchangeably. Since the goods cannot be landed until the tax is paid, it is the easiest tax to collect, and the cost of collection is small. Traders seeking to evade tariffs are know as smugglers.

The definition above is from newworldencyclopedia.org which states the terms tariff and duty can be used interchangeably. In fact, most professionals use the terms interchangeably, which is correct, but in some cases one is more appropriate than the other. A Tariff directly relates to the harmonizedtariff system codes (HTS) which imported products are classified under by U.S. Customs. A Duty is the actual amount of money paid on the imported product.
Tariffs and Duties are different. These are not interchangeable terms:

What we want and what is, is very often two different things.

Unionblue
 
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Potomac Pride

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Don’t forget the Lincoln word “Impost”.
Thanks for your post. In March 1861, Lincoln stated in his inaugural address “The power confided to me will be used ……….. to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.” This was a direct reference to the collection of the federal tariff which Lincoln considered to be very important since the tariff provided the operating revenue for the federal government.
 
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