Didn't Tariffs start the war?

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Harvey Johnson

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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.
Not only that, but the North's three biggest industrial sectors—cotton textiles, iron products, and woolen textiles—were all dependent upon protective tariffs. Without such tariffs they would have been much smaller or not existed at all.
 
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unionblue

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

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.
I have also presented two different sources that demonstrate how the terms can be used interchangeably. Maybe you can understand that.
Not so much ignored.

We, here at this thread, have been presented with two definitions of tariff and duty.

Which do we believe?

Good to be seen, even better to be understood.
Same question. Your definition and sources or @GwilymT 's source. Which do we believe?

I can understand what you have presented and what @Gwilymand trust the post has presented. Why do you feel yours is more correct than his? What do you base your view on?

Why yours over his?

I can understand @Rebforever 's post about "Impost" and trust it's source/reference, no argument there. So, in your view, Lincoln is using the correct terms for the collection of the tariff? "Duties and imposts?"

Unionblue
 

unionblue

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Not only that, but the North's three biggest industrial sectors—cotton textiles, iron product, and woolen textiles—were all dependent upon protective tariffs. Without such tariffs they would have been much smaller or not existed at all.
But still much, much, smaller than the slaveholding South's major asset, $4 Billion in slave property.
 
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Potomac Pride

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Same question. Your definition and sources or @GwilymT 's source. Which do we believe?

I can understand what you have presented and what @Gwilymand trust the post has presented. Why do you feel yours is more correct than his? What do you base your view on?

Why yours over his?

I can understand @Rebforever 's post about "Impost" and trust it's source/reference, no argument there. So, in your view, Lincoln is using the correct terms for the collection of the tariff? "Duties and imposts?"

Unionblue
During Lincoln's time, the words tariff, duties and imposts were used interchangeably.
 

Harvey Johnson

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But still much, much, smaller than the slaveholding South's major asset, $4 Billion in slave property.
Actually, the 1861 combined annual revenues of America's three biggest industrial sectors approximated $260 million, which was the same amount as the $260 million raw cotton produced. All three industrial sectors—cotton textiles, iron products and woolen textiles—were sheltered by high protective tariffs w/o which they would have been much smaller or hardly existed at all.
 
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unionblue

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Actually, the 1861 combined annual revenues of America's three biggest industrial sectors approximated $260 million, which was the same amount as the $260 million raw cotton produced. All three industrial sectors—cotton textiles, iron products and woolen textiles—were sheltered by high protective tariffs w/o which they would have been much smaller or hardly existed at all.
Not disagreeing with your totals.

Just saying that even combined, they come nowhere close to topping $4 Billion dollars of slave property, would you not agree?
 
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cedarstripper

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Not only that, but the North's three biggest industrial sectors—cotton textiles, iron products, and woolen textiles—were all dependent upon protective tariffs. Without such tariffs they would have been much smaller or not existed at all.
Do you have any source for this assertion?

Taussig. Tariff History of the US p. 153-154

"We often hear it said that any considerable reduction from the scale of duties in the present tariff, whose character and history will be considered in the following pages, would bring about the disappearance of manufacturing industries, or at least a disastrous check to their development. But the experience of the period before 1860 shows that predictions of this sort have little warrant. At present, as before 1860, the great textile manufacturers are not dependent to any great extent on protective duties of the kind now imposed. The direction of their growth has been somewhat affected by these duties, yet in a less degree than might have been expected. It is striking that both under the system of high protection which has been maintained since the civil war, and under the more moderate system that preceded it, the cotton and wollen industries have been kept in the main to those goods of common use and large consumption to which the United States might be expected to lead them...The iron manufacture has advanced by leaps and bounds, chiefly through the development of great natural resources in the heart of the country - hardly touched during the period here under discussion. But even during this period it held its own. Manufactures in general grew and flourished. The extent to which mechanical branches of production have been brought into existence by the protective system has been greatly exaggerated by its advocates; and even the character and direction of their development have been influenced less than, on grounds of general reasoning, might have been expected."
 

Harvey Johnson

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All three industrial sectors—cotton textiles, iron products and woolen textiles—were sheltered by high protective tariffs w/o which they would have been much smaller or hardly existed at all.
Do you have any source for this assertion?

Taussig. Tariff History of the US p. 153-154

"We often hear it said that any considerable reduction from the scale of duties in the present tariff, whose character and history will be considered in the following pages, would bring about the disappearance of manufacturing industries, or at least a disastrous check to their development. But the experience of the period before 1860 shows that predictions of this sort have little warrant. At present, as before 1860, the great textile manufacturers are not dependent to any great extent on protective duties of the kind now imposed. The direction of their growth has been somewhat affected by these duties, yet in a less degree than might have been expected. It is striking that both under the system of high protection which has been maintained since the civil war, and under the more moderate system that preceded it, the cotton and wollen industries have been kept in the main to those goods of common use and large consumption to which the United States might be expected to lead them...The iron manufacture has advanced by leaps and bounds, chiefly through the development of great natural resources in the heart of the country - hardly touched during the period here under discussion. But even during this period it held its own. Manufactures in general grew and flourished. The extent to which mechanical branches of production have been brought into existence by the protective system has been greatly exaggerated by its advocates; and even the character and direction of their development have been influenced less than, on grounds of general reasoning, might have been expected."
The purpose of Taussig’s 1888 book was to argue that the then-existing protective tariffs were much too high. Harrison and Cleveland were then contesting a presidential election, with Harrison favoring protective tariffs and Cleveland opposing them. After Harrison won, he signed the McKinley tariff that raised rates on dutiable items to an average of 50% as compared to 19% on the eve of the Civil War

Your quote is from the end of Taussig’s first chapter where he tried to show that 1888 protected industries could prosper with the lower protectionist tariffs of the antebellum era. But he also stated that pre-war protectionists would not have agreed with him. “The protectionists tell us that the compromise [1833] tariff caused the disastrous crises of 1837 and 1839; that the high tariff of 1842 brought back prosperity; that depressions again followed the passage of the [lower protective rates] of 1846 and that the Panic of 1857 was precipitated by the [still lower protective rates] of the 1857 tariff.” (p. 116)

Even though the manufacturers themselves did not accept Taussig’s analysis, anyone who does must conclude that Northern manufacturers insisted upon unnecessary antebellum protective tariffs and that they further imposed even steeper tariff protections for fifty years after the war, which were injurious the South’s impoverished export economy. For anyone reading beyond the first chapter, it's clear that Tausigg's book is an indictment of Northern abuse of protective tariffs.
 
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cedarstripper

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The purpose of Taussig’s 1888 book was to argue that the then-existing protective tariffs were much too high. Harrison and Cleveland were then contesting a presidential election, with Harrison favoring protective tariffs and Cleveland opposing them. After Harrison won, he signed the McKinley tariff that raised rates on dutiable items to an average of 50% as compared to 19% on the eve of the Civil War

Your quote is from the end of Taussig’s first chapter where he tried to show that 1888 protected industries could prosper with the lower protectionist tariffs of the antebellum era. But he also stated that pre-war protectionists would not have agreed with him. “The protectionists tell us that the compromise [1833] tariff caused the disastrous crises of 1837 and 1839; that the high tariff of 1842 brought back prosperity; that depressions again followed the passage of the [lower protective rates] of 1846 and that the Panic of 1857 was precipitated by the [still lower protective rates] of the 1857 tariff.” (p. 116)

Even though the manufacturers themselves did not accept Taussig’s analysis, anyone who does must conclude that Northern manufacturers insisted upon unnecessary antebellum protective tariffs and that they further imposed even steeper tariff protections for fifty years after the war, which were injurious the South’s impoverished export economy. For anyone reading beyond the first chapter, it's clear that Tausigg's book is an indictment of Northern abuse of protective tariffs.
While most of your reply seemed to concern your opinions of Taussig's treatment of postbellum tariff policy, I didn't notice anything in it that supported your claim that without antebellum protectionist tariffs, domestic cotton, woolen and iron manufactures "would have been much smaller or hardly existed at all." The passages I quoted addressed directly the thinness of the claim that domestic manufactures owed their existence to protectionist tariffs.
 

Harvey Johnson

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While most of your reply seemed to concern your opinions of Taussig's treatment of postbellum tariff policy.
Most of the paragraph you cited pertained to 1888 tariffs when the rate on dutiable items averaged about 45% as compared to 19% on the eve of the Civil War.

Taussig's purpose was to convince his 1888 readers that post war tariff-protected industries could thrive under the much lower antebellum protective rates. He never denied persistent—but fluctuating—antebellum protection from at least 1832 onward. He wrote that even the so-called 'free trade' 1846 Walker Tariff "effected no more than a moderation of the application of protection."

Are you arguing that Taussig's book endorsed the high postbellum protective tariffs?

I didn't notice anything in it that supported your claim that without antebellum protectionist tariffs, domestic cotton, woolen and iron manufactures "would have been much smaller or hardly existed at all."
The mere existence of antebellum protective tariffs confirms that the protected industries themselves felt they needed them. If they didn't, they would have abandoned protectionism in order expand into export markets. That's why Southern cotton farmers never asked for protective tariffs. They knew they did not need them, unlike the antebellum Northern manufactures. The facts speak for themselves.
 
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wausaubob

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I doubt the southern cotton crop was worth $276M at any point prior to 1862. And about 900K bales were being consumed by domestic textile producers. Of course their prices were protected and perhaps a little higher than they would have been without protection, but of course the towns and cities in which they employed people were also buying American textiles.
 

leftyhunter

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During the past thirty years most modern historians claim that slavery was the overwhelming cause of the Civil War. They increasingly insist that the South’s opposition to protective tariffs was a minimal factor, even though such tariffs were specifically outlawed in the Confederate constitution. One outspoken "expert" writes:

One of the most egregious of the so-called Lost Cause narratives suggests that it was not slavery, but a protective tariff that sparked the Civil War.​

On 2 March 1861, the Morrill Tariff was signed into law by outgoing Democratic President James Buchanan. . . A pernicious lie quickly formed around the tariff’s passage, a lie suggesting that somehow this tariff had caused the US Civil War. By ignoring slavery’s central role in precipitating secession and Civil War, this tariff myth has survived in the United States for more than a century and a half – and needs to be debunked once and for all.​

To begin, the annalist fails to note that antebellum tariffs accounted for about ninety percent of federal revenues, even though most of his comrades readily conceded the point. Thus, tariff policy was as important to antebellum Americans as federal tax policy is to us today.

If tarriff's were truly the most important or main reason for the ACW then we should have numerous diaries and or letters from Confederate soldiers stating that tarriff's was their main motivation to go to war.
If tarriff's were truly the main reason for the ACW we should be able to determine exactly what items were so essential to the well being of Southern white families that they would willingly sacrifice their so s,fathers and husband's over even though tarriff's were at a historic low. If the secessionists wanted to defeat the Morrill Tarriff's then their senator's should of stayed in Washington DC and vote it down.
If tarriff's were so terrible that it was worth fighting for then why has @John Fenton pointed out did Jefferson Davis impose a six month embargo on foreign trade?
If Southerners didn't want to pay $52 dollars for a ton of American railroad vs $32 dollars a ton for British railroad iron it makes more sense for the Southern states to subsidize an iron factory rather then risk all in a war.
Leftyhunter
 

Harvey Johnson

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I doubt the southern cotton crop was worth $276M at any point prior to 1862.
Who estimated it at $276 million?

This source puts it at $247 million for the 1859-60 growing season, whereas I had estimated it upthread at $260 million in 1861. Admittedly the season ending in 1860 was actually a higher than 1861. Nonetheless, prior to the Civil War the value of cotton produced got as high as about $250 million.

This source shows the same result for the season ending in 1860 but estimates the value for the season ending in 1862 at $670 million, due mainly to an average price of $0.313 per pound as compared to $0.11 per pound in 1860.
 
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Harvey Johnson

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If tarriff's were truly the most important or main reason for the ACW then we should have numerous diaries and or letters from Confederate soldiers stating that tarriff's was their main motivation to go to war.
You are focusing on why Southerners chose to fight, instead of why the Northerners did. Yankees could have permitted Southerners to leave peaceably but chose instead to coerce them back into the Union because Northerners wanted to avoid the economic consequences of Disunion.

Chief among them would be the loss of Southern markets to Northern tariff-protected industries and the loss of tariff revenue collected by the Confederacy. The proof of this is the fact that the victors raised the tariff on dutiable items from an average of 19% before the war to an average of 45% for the next fifty-three years.

The victors could have reduced the postbellum tariff and relied on a mix of internal taxes and tariffs, but instead abandoned the temporary wartime internal taxes but kept tariffs high, even though the wartime tariffs were also supposed to be temporary.

What people do is a better indication of their objectives than what they say.
 
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Harvey Johnson

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If Southerners didn't want to pay $52 dollars for a ton of American railroad vs $32 dollars a ton for British railroad iron it makes more sense for the Southern states to subsidize an iron factory rather then risk all in a war.
Given a choice of buying equal-quality railroad iron for $32 a ton or $52 a ton, Southern railroads would chose the $32 supplier. Whether the $52 supplier is from the North or South is a distant secondary consideration.

Consider also, the Confederacy had the World's second biggest railroad network and would therefore be sensitive to price.
 
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