Didn't Tariffs start the war?

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leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Given a choice of buying equal-quality railroad iron for $32 a ton or $52 a ton, Southern railroads would chose the $32 supplier. Choosing to pay $52 from a Southern or Northern supplier is a distant secondary consideration.

Consider also, the Confederacy had the second biggest railroad network in the World and would logically seek the best price.
Therefore it make more sense for the Southern states to form a compact to produce their own railroad iron vs sending their menfolk to die in order to get a forty or so percent discount on RR iron.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
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.
The secessionists didn't exactly use peaceful means to separate from the Union . I have a past thread " was the vote for secession free and fair". The answer was no it was not.
By Southerners do you mean the vast majority of the the Southern people of a narrow majority of only white people?
Has others have stated secessionist leaders spoke far more about slavery then tarriff's.
Let's try to stick to my original question which is exactly how much of a tax burden tarriff's really where in an era of no sales or income tax. Also can we have no idea how vital imported items are to Southern families and why it was worth sending their menfolk to die to save money on imported goods.
The Federal government spent a lot of money on the ACW plus veterans pensions. The money had to be raised somehow.
Leftyhunter
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
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.
In 1889 when Andrew Carnegie toured the emerging Southern steel industry centered in Birmingham he declared, “the South is Pennsylvania’s most formidable industrial enemy.” About ten years later Carnegie’s mills merged into—and became the largest component of—Pittsburgh-based U. S. Steel. Six years later U. S. Steel purchased the biggest Southern steel mills and imposed discriminatory pricing on Southern production. Thereafter, steel from the company’s Alabama mills included an incremental mark-up, termed the “Birmingham Differential,” of $3 per ton over the Pittsburgh quote.

To further penalize Alabama production, buyers of Birmingham steel were required to pay freight from Birmingham plus a phantom charge as if the shipments originated in Pittsburgh. After Woodrow Wilson became President the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated the matter and concluded that Birmingham’s steel production costs were the lowest in the country and 26% below those of Pittsburgh. Yet U. S. Steel continued to require a $3 per ton “Birmingham Differential” on Alabama steel, which was raised to $5 after 1920. Six months after the differential was finally abolished in 1939 shipbuilding plants in Pascagoula, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama announced major expansions.
 
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leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
In 1889 when Andrew Carnegie toured the emerging Southern steel industry centered in Birmingham he declared, “the South is Pennsylvania’s most formidable industrial enemy.” About ten years later Carnegie’s mills merged into—and became the largest component of—Pittsburgh-based U. S. Steel. Six years later U. S. Steel purchased the biggest Southern steel mills and imposed discriminatory pricing on Southern production. Thereafter, steel from the company’s Alabama mills included an incremental mark-up, termed the “Birmingham Differential,” of $3 per ton over the Pittsburgh quote.

To further penalize Alabama production, buyers of Birmingham steel were required to pay freight from Birmingham plus a phantom charge as if the shipments originated in Pittsburgh. After Woodrow Wilson became President the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated the matter and concluded that Birmingham’s steel production costs were the lowest in the country and 26% below those of Pittsburgh. Yet U. S. Steel continued to require a $3 per ton “Birmingham Differential” on Alabama steel, which was raised to $5 after 1920. Six months after the differential was finally abolished in 1939 shipbuilding plants in Pascagoula, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama announced major expansions.
That is certainly interesting but it doesn't really address the OP " did tarriff's start the war".If the above Southern steel mils would of been built by say a private- public partnership then no need to sacrifice their men folk to save forty or percent on RR iron.
Leftyhunter
 
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Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I read through this thread with interest. I think what we have is an Ad Hominem Fallacy. That is a form of argument where the premise on which the argument is founded has not been proven first.

Over & over again in this thread, good logical reasons have been given to doubt the legitimacy of the claim that tariffs were a major, if not the major reason for secession. What is lacking is any evidence to support the assertion that tariffs caused secession.

Logic would dictate that the persons making the tariff claim should present their evidence in the form of pre-1860 documentation. So far, in this thread, that evidence has been lacking. That is what will give this thread something concrete to discuss.

Note:

My personal investigation of the tariff claim has led me to a firm conclusion. The tariff as cause for secession assertion was a post-war construct created by the Jubal Early-Lost Cause-Southern Historical Society rewrite of history. Like all false narratives, it does not exist in pre-war documentation. If there is a large number of references to tariffs in per-war documents, I would like to see them & re-evaluate my conclusion.
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Over & over again in this thread, good logical reasons have been given to doubt the legitimacy of the claim that tariffs were a major. . . reason for secession.
That‘s not the thread topic. The topic is: “Didn’t tariffs start the War?”

The north could’ve let the south leave peacefully. Instead they chose to fight and raised the tariff on dutiable items from 19% before the war to an average of 45% for 50 years thereafter. Moreover, they abandon the temporary wartime internal taxes but kept postbellum tariffs high, even though they were supposed to be temporary too. What they did shows what they wanted, regardless of their misleading words. ”Preserving the Union,” for example, was merely a euphemistic expression for the Northern intent to avoid the economic consequences of Disunion.
 
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Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
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Murfreesboro, Tennessee
That‘s not the thread topic. The topic is: “Didn’t tariffs start the War?”

The north could’ve let the south leave peacefully. Instead they chose to fight and raised the tariff on dutiable items from 19% before the war to an average of 45% for 50 years thereafter. Moreover, they abandon the temporary wartime internal taxes but kept postbellum tariffs high, even though they were supposed to be temporary too. What they did shows what they wanted, regardless of their misleading words. ”Preserving the Union,” for example, was merely a euphemistic expression for the Northern intent to avoid the economic consequences of Disunion.
I would appreciate it if you would share the documentation that led you to this eccentric conclusion.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
That‘s not the thread topic. The topic is: “Didn’t tariffs start the War?”

The north could’ve let the south leave peacefully.

Too bad all the hostile and war-like actions of the Slaveholding South would not let the North leave them in peace.

Instead they chose to fight and raised the tariff on dutiable items from 19% before the war to an average of 45% for 50 years thereafter.

Yes, the Slaveholding South did choose violence and arrogance over peaceful means and by those actions forced the North to finance a war of unification which took decades to pay for. That's the 'bill' presented to the USA by Southern rebellion. Wars ain't cheap.


Moreover, they abandon the temporary wartime internal taxes but kept postbellum tariffs high, even though they were supposed to be temporary too.

What were they supposed to do? How were they supposed to pay for damages? Pensions? Debts to foreign governments for war supplies? You wreck your home and then expect others to pay for repairs?

What they did shows what they wanted, regardless of their misleading words.

What I see is another 'bypass' of fact to present the same, old, tired excuse, that the war was about anything than what it truly was, the preservation of a $4 billion dollar institution with the diversion of a $53 million dollar tariff that was applied equally to all who imported foreign goods into the nation. The excuse still does not wash and never will.
.

”Preserving the Union,” for example, was merely a euphemistic expression for the Northern intent to avoid the economic consequences of Disunion.

No, it was an inflicted truism by those who wished to preserve human trafficking above the ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Thank God they failed.
The tariff did not cause the war and since the very tariff system was approved by the South in order not to have other systems of taxation used (such as a "head tax" on population which would have included slaves).

If one "follows the money" one is going to find $4 billion far outweighs $53 million in 1860 tariff collection, most of which was gathered in Northern ports.

This excuse is the poorest of the lot and has been disproven so many times, here at this forum, it's no longer laughable, but sad.

Unionblue
 

Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The tariff did not cause the war and since the very tariff system was approved by the South in order not to have other systems of taxation used (such as a "head tax" on population which would have included slaves).

If one "follows the money" one is going to find $4 billion far outweighs $53 million in 1860 tariff collection, most of which was gathered in Northern ports.

This excuse is the poorest of the lot and has been disproven so many times, here at this forum, it's no longer laughable, but sad.

Unionblue
You got that right. The real causes of secession are infinitely more complex, nuanced & interesting than any Lost Cause rewrite of history could ever be.
 
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Rhea Cole

First Sergeant
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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Therefore it make more sense for the Southern states to form a compact to produce their own railroad iron vs sending their menfolk to die in order to get a forty or so percent discount on RR iron.
Leftyhunter
Pre-1860, Tennessee & Kentucky iron foundries were manned by slaves. The Nashville Plow Works, for example, was able to turn out iron products of any kind from homegrown raw material & coal.
 

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Tariff arguments are a lot of fun. Because there were high tariff politicians in the south, and low tariff politicians in the north. But the strongest force in the middle eight states were ex-Whigs who were high tariff supporters. They wanted to sell stuff that could not be exported to people who lived and worked in the north. High tariffs helped their customers.
Lots of people in the north wanted revenue tariffs. They wanted a lively international trade, and a lucrative tariff system.
 

wausaubob

Major
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Location
Denver, CO
As for $32/ton low grade iron from Britain, it was definitely going to continue, until the British had put all the US producers under water.
 
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Eric Calistri

2nd Lieutenant
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May 31, 2012
Location
Austin Texas
High tariffs didn't cause the war. The war caused high tariffs. Approx 90% (and i expect you "@Harvey Johnson" to berate me mercilessly if this off the cuff number is off by any amount whatsoever) of the Federal government revenue came from the tariff.

The Walker Tariffs of 1846 and 1857 were often referred to at the time as "Free Trade." The lack of revenue from the 1857 Tariff put the federal government in the red, and the stated purpose of the Morill Tariff was to return the rates to the 1846 levels, but using specific rates instead of the mostly ad valorem rates of the walker tariffs. This makes a direct comparison difficult, and the Morill Tariff was enforced for only about one quarter (3 months) before rates were raised, yes, to pay for the war.
 

Irishtom29

Sergeant Major
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Location
Comancheria
What's funny is that the tariff arguers evidently think that being against tariffs was a more respectable reason for treason and bloody rebellion than protecting slavery was. Like we're gonna be sitting here thinking "Oh, well in that case the rebellion was OK".
 
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wausaubob

Major
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Location
Denver, CO
The underlying population growth rate in the south was the growth of the slave population at 23% per decade. The population of the northern states grew at about 41% per decade.
1579613644896.png

https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/1860/preliminary-report/1860e-03.pdf?# p.5
Once a country elects a Republican as President, after reapportionment in 1862, its only going to get more likely in 1864. See pages 20-21.
Whatever was happening with respect to tariffs was just a symptom of the fact that the representatives of the 15 slave states could no longer produce a positive piece of legislation for what they perceived as their interest.
They could block, but the could not create.
Railroads, canals, harbor projects, levees, mail routes, army forts, harbor forts, naval stations, and special provisions of the tariff code, all would be favorable to the northern states.
 
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wausaubob

Major
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The real cause of the Civil War was the value of slaves. Whatever the value of slaves, it existed only based on the political protection of slaves in the southern states. They could not be taken to New York, or San Francisco, or London and Paris, because the law did not protect the arrangement there.
And if the country elects one Republican President, the legal protections for slavery are going to be withdrawn one prop at a time, until the system topples.
 

wausaubob

Major
Joined
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Location
Denver, CO
Tariffs undoubtedly did raise the price of low level US cotton goods and ready made clothing, which hurt the demand for southern cotton. But they also kept Asian cotton out of the US.
On the other hand, the northern US population was growing at a rate of 41% per decade. The US economy was recovering quicky by 1860. The US was industrializing and urbanizing, so the demand for indoor fabrics, was going to grow faster than 41% per decade.
1579624567739.png

There was no sewing machine industry in the US in 1850, and by 1860 there was a sewing machine industry. The cost of ready made clothing was going to fall. The demand for fabric in small towns and homes, was only going to increase.
The growth market for southern cotton was the US. If the southern states gain independence, southern cotton is put in the same category as Asian and Egyptian cotton, behind a tariff wall controlled by NE and Mid Atlantic politicians.
 
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