Legislation passed during Civil War and other issues than slavery causing war

wbull1

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Slavery was not the only issue that resulted in secession. I believe it was the primary one. Back when people had to give reasons to seek a divorce, they threw in every reason they could think of. I think the statements about the reasons for secession were similar. You'd want to toss in everything you could think of.

As to the secondary importance of tariffs, I offer two pieces of evidence below. The first is a letter from John C. Calhoun in which he states slavery is the real issue underlying his resistance to tariffs and the second is that one of the early ways to raise funds for the Confederacy was...a tariff.
 

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wbull1

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John C. Calhoun, who spawned the "nullification crisis" in response to a tariff wrote to Virgil Maxey in 1830

I consider the Tariff, but as the occasion, rather than the real cause of the present unhappy state of things. The truth can no longer be disguised, that the peculiar domestick institutions of the Southern States,[slavery] and the consequent direction which that and her soil and climate have given to her industry, has placed them in regard to taxation and appropriation in opposite relation to the majority of the Union; against the danger of which, if there be no protective power in the reserved rights of the states, they must in the end be forced to rebel or submit to have . . . their domestick institutions [slavery] exhausted by Colonization and other schemes, and themselves & children reduced to wretchedness. Thus situatied [sic], the denial of the right of the state to interfere constitutionally in the last resort, more alarms the thinking than all other causes.

Treasury Circular, No. 10.
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA,
TREASURY DEPARTMENT,
Richmond, June 7, 1861.

In performance of the duty imposed by law on this Department of superintending the collection of the public Revenue, the attention of Collectors and other officers of the Customs is called to the provisions of the Act of Congress of the Confederate States of America, levying duties on imports, approved May 21, 1861, which will be in force on and after the thirty-first day of August next. All the existing regulations to ascertain the identity of goods, wares and merchandize, the growth, produce or manufacture of the Confederate States, exported to a foreign country and brought back to the Confederate States in the same condition as when exported, upon which no drawback has been allowed, will be in force, and Collectors or other officers of the Customs will be governed accordingly. The Tariff Act, approved May 21, 1861, having superseded all previous Tariff Acts, the provisions of the same are hereto subjoined, with the Tariff of duties arranged in schedules. The law is so free from ambiguity, and so plain in its provisions, that the Department conceives any exposition of its views, interpreting the same, at this time, as unnecessary. If difference of opinion should arise in its construction, it will be developed in the practical workings of the law, and Collectors and other officers of the Customs will call the attention of the Department to any difficulty that may be presented, thereby affording an opportunity for an early construction of the law.

C. G. MEMMINGER,
 

jgoodguy

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The reasons that I listed are really separate from the issue of slavery. In regards to states' rights, I refer in particular to the secession of the states of the Upper South. These states believed that the attempt by the federal government to coerce the other southern states to remain in the Union was a violation of the rights of the states and the Constitution. After Lincoln's call for troops, the states of the Upper South such as North Carolina protested vehemently and then decided to secede. Furthermore, the Article of Secession of North Carolina doesn't even mention slavery but it does mention state sovereignty
Yet all were slave States that joined a Slave Republic. I do not see separating slavery from State's Rights. Furthermore, when they were able, they disregarded Northern States rights about fugitive slaves. I do not buy some pure States Rights argument.

McDonald – Federalism and States' Rights | The Philadelphia Society

The South had discredited states’ rights once again, as it had done by invoking the idea in defense of slavery,​
 
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In regards to tariffs, there had been arguments between the North and South over this issue decades before the Civil War even began. Tariff policy before the Civil War was a product of the need for a federal income source and foreign trade protection and not as a result of slavery. Furthermore, the tariffs that were collected in the Southern states before the Civil War were still being used for the military but the amount of protection was considered inadequate on the frontier. The economic exploitation that I was referring to was in regards to unfair federal subsidies that were provided for industries that were dominated by the Northern states such as the shipping industry. This type of federal protectionism benefited northern commerce at the expense of the southern states. All of these issues are contained in the Articles of Secession of the southern states and are independent from the issue of slavery.
Regarding the issue of tariffs and subsidies, which are in many respects tied to one another, Southern states were active participants in the process you describe.

As an example in North Carolina in the antebellum period there was significant debate on whether to accept federal subsidies for improvements versus those that believed that accepting such would then raise tariffs, open up avenues for corruption and was potentially unconstitutional.

So I think (and I'm not saying you're saying this) that painting Southern states as passive victims in these issues is often (or possibly entirely) inaccurate.

Here is an excerpt from a link (see below) that I found particularly interesting:

  • Macon also opposed federal subsidies. He argued, writes historian Alan D. Watson, that such expenditures “added to the federal debt and taxes.” They also kept tariff rates high. Therefore, Macon and his acolyte, Thomas H. Hall, a congressman from Edgecombe County, kept the national subsidies in their state at almost nil: out of almost $4.2 million in national internal improvement expenses, an 1828 report disclosed that North Carolina had received only $1,000. Some remarked, however, that as long as the national government doled out money for transportation improvements, North Carolina should accept some subsidies and ensure that some of North Carolinians’ contribution to the coffers of the U.S. government were returned to improve their state.
Taken from https://northcarolinahistory.org/co...al-improvements-in-antebellum-north-carolina/
 

byron ed

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Thanks for your post Edited. Some of the posters on this board believed that the only issue involved in the secession of the southern states was slavery.
It's just that your precept "...slavery was an important contributing factor that led to the secession" implies that slavery was not The Primary Factor, which it clearly was to go by secession's own documents.

A flag went up to see such a short step from there to the typical, stunted and much-parroted Lost Cause proclamation "...slavery was not the cause of the CW". But in hindsight I see you didn't mean it that way.

So thanks for listing the secondary reasons claimed by secessionists. It is context, so should be considered.
 
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The reasons that I listed are really separate from the issue of slavery. In regards to states' rights, I refer in particular to the secession of the states of the Upper South. These states believed that the attempt by the federal government to coerce the other southern states to remain in the Union was a violation of the rights of the states and the Constitution. After Lincoln's call for troops, the states of the Upper South such as North Carolina protested vehemently and then decided to secede. Furthermore, the Article of Secession of North Carolina doesn't even mention slavery but it does mention state sovereignty.

In regards to tariffs, there had been arguments between the North and South over this issue decades before the Civil War even began. Tariff policy before the Civil War was a product of the need for a federal income source and foreign trade protection and not as a result of slavery. Furthermore, the tariffs that were collected in the Southern states before the Civil War were still being used for the military but the amount of protection was considered inadequate on the frontier. The economic exploitation that I was referring to was in regards to unfair federal subsidies that were provided for industries that were dominated by the Northern states such as the shipping industry. This type of federal protectionism benefited northern commerce at the expense of the southern states. All of these issues are contained in the Articles of Secession of the southern states and are independent from the issue of slavery.
So the tariff issue was so severe that Southern parents had no qualms about sending their sons to die over the tariff issue? What items were so vital to white Southerners that they would willingly sacrifice their sons over it?
Leftyhunter
 

byron ed

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...there was more involved. Why was all this legislation passed, yet the Republicans did not seem to be in a hurry to pass legislation against slavery in the Union North, the so-called reason for the War.
Uh ...the Union North had already passed legislation banning slavery in their states.

The Union North did not have an opportunity to pass legislation that would apply to the rest of the country, the U.S. being a democratic republic after all. So if that's what you meant by "Republicans not in a hurry to pass legislation against slavery" that's bogus.

Whatever "so called reason" is supposed to imply, there's no "so called" about it. It's "everybody called" slavery a reason for the war, if only minimally. (Back at that time, that is).

I'm sure there is a long list of bellyaching reasons why.
Well if there was a long list of those, they weren't mentioned in any secession declaration. Edited.
 
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WJC

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the Article of Secession of North Carolina doesn't even mention slavery but it does mention state sovereignty.
I believe that we can all agree that both North Carolina and Virginia seceded because they did not want to make war on their neighbors. But we also have to recognize that they made a conscious choice to align with rebelling slave states, rather than remain loyal or neutral. Slavery was the deciding factor in their decisions.
 

WJC

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The economic exploitation that I was referring to was in regards to unfair federal subsidies that were provided for industries that were dominated by the Northern states such as the shipping industry. This type of federal protectionism benefited northern commerce at the expense of the southern states.
We have to recognize that the reason Northern industries benefited from the tariff was less a matter of intentions to 'keep the Southern man down' than a consequence of the Willie Sutton rule. Sutton (1901-1980), an infamous and highly successful bank robber, was asked why he robbed banks. He reputedly answered, "Because that's where the money is!"
Tariffs directly benefited Northern states because 'that's where the industry was'! Antebellum Southerners were perfectly happy building and maintaining a strong cash crop agricultural economy and leaving their Northern friends to develop industries. In spite of their ongoing discontent, it was indirectly very beneficial to them, allowing them to enjoy great success and wealth.
 
Furthermore, the Article of Secession of North Carolina doesn't even mention slavery but it does mention state sovereignty.
North Carolina's Article of Secession is an "Ordinance" and she calls it such, which is a law or decree issued by a body of government and as such does not list causes or reasons for the law or decree. Those reasons would be either in a declaration of causes if a state chose to issue one, or in the minutes of the legislature that led to the issuance of the ordinance.
 

WJC

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Why was all this legislation passed, yet the Republicans did not seem to be in a hurry to pass legislation against slavery in the Union North, the so-called reason for the War.
In the antebellum, legislation was blocked by members of Congress representing slave states. (and, had there been no secession, that most likely would have continued).
Emancipation legislation (with the exception of slavery in the District of Columbia) could not proceed until our Constitution was amended.
(Remember, slavery before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment was left for each state to decide). Then, too, there was concern for the four slave states remained in the Union: it was vital that they not secede. Volumes have been written on the delicate situation that existed regarding maintaining the loyalty of those four states.
 
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Antebellum Southerners were perfectly happy building and maintaining a strong cash crop agricultural economy and leaving their Northern friends to develop industries. In spite of their ongoing discontent, it was indirectly very beneficial to them, allowing them to enjoy great success and wealth.
I agree entirely and I think it bears pointing out that these sorts of regional specialisations were and are common in integrated national economies, with areas focusing on what they are particularly good at.

It is also not uncommon in integrated national economies for regions to complain, lobby, etc. about their treatment versus other regions.

While it's a personal opinion of mine, this is how I tend to view much of the antebellum regional economic issues, that is as normal posturing for preferred treatment over other sections.
 

WJC

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I tend to view much of the antebellum regional economic issues, that is as normal posturing for preferred treatment over other sections.
Thanks for your response.
I agree. No one can deny that there were many regional complaints, but only one was serious enough to result in a rupture in the relationship.
Assertions that somehow the dispute over slavery was just another, though more serious, complaint than a list of others strikes me as ignoring the obvious. It is akin to suggesting that the iceberg was not the cause of Titanic's loss, that there were numbers of open windows, doors and hatches that allowed water into the ship and we must consider them as well.
 

Eric Calistri

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Before the start of fighting, after 7 states had left the Union, Congress passed a tariff increase. There were additional increases during the war, partly to raise revenue. During the war, Congress passed the Homestead Act. This had been blocked by southern Congressmen, who wanted land sold in large tracts for farms with slaves. Congress also passed the land grant college bill. This had also been blocked by southern delegation, which were controlled by planters who didn't want education for the masses. The transcontinental railroad passed and construction was started despite the war. This had also been blocked by southern delegations that wanted a southern route.

So even if slavery was the main motivation for the south, is it possible that southern representatives were in conflict with northern business interests and the interests of ordinary northerners, and that is part of the cause of the war.

Congress, during the war, also passed an act ending slavery in DC, an act prohibiting slavery in US territory, overturned the fugitive slave Act of 1850. The Confiscation Acts weakened slavery as did the acts which allowed the US to enlist former slaves. I believe all these acts, as well as the 13th Amendment should be included in any list of items that had been blocked by the southern delegations, and passed in their absence.
 

jgoodguy

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Thanks for your response.
I agree. No one can deny that there were many regional complaints, but only one was serious enough to result in a rupture in the relationship.
Assertions that somehow the dispute over slavery was just another, though more serious, complaint than a list of others strikes me as ignoring the obvious. It is akin to suggesting that the iceberg was not the cause of Titanic's loss, that there were numbers of open windows, doors and hatches that allowed water into the ship and we must consider them as well.
Good points. IMHO if slavery was viewed with 1860 glasses no one would be running from it. No one would be ashamed of all the interconnections. It is modernity that makes all this fuss. It as hard to separate slavery from the Southern civilization as it is to separate capitalism from the Northern. Were capitalism and slavery were to exchange reputations, the unionists would likely be running from capitalism in the 1860s history discussion chased by the Southern advocates.
 

WJC

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It as hard to separate slavery from the Southern civilization as it is to separate capitalism from the Northern.
Thanks for your response.
Slavery was most certainly integral to "Southern civilization". But we ought not forget the Southern slaveholder was just as fervent a Capitalist as his/her Northern cousin. The aims were the same; only the choice of the type of labor differed.
 

jgoodguy

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Thanks for your response.
Slavery was most certainly integral to "Southern civilization". But we ought not forget the Southern slaveholder was just as fervent a Capitalist as his/her Northern cousin. The aims were the same; only the choice of the type of labor differed.
Lots of economists fight over that. The fact an entity has profit and loss accounting with the use of capital does not make them a capitalist entity. A society dependent on large cities, commercial activity, society ordered on contract relationships rather than personal and so is a capitalist society. The Southern elites were appalled by that.
 

O' Be Joyful

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strikes me as ignoring the obvious. It is akin to suggesting that the iceberg was not the cause of Titanic's loss, that there were numbers of open windows, doors and hatches that allowed water into the ship and we must consider them as well.
Excellent analogy. I'm going to remember that one. Better yet, its bookmarked.
 



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