Tariffs Forced Southern States to Secede

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CSA Today

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Thanks for your response and the information on U. S. tariffs.
However, that does nothing to answer the question I posed: "Were retaliatory tariffs even considered by our antebellum trading partners?" Specifically: did Britain or France consider retaliatory tariffs on imports from the United States?
"Cotton growers in the South exported raw cotton to Britain, and they were opposed to any tariff that would restrict the sales of their British customers to the United States. They worried about both loss of sales and further losses due to possible British retaliation."

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~dirwin/docs/COTTON.PDF
 

Stratagemo

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Thanks for your response and the information on U. S. tariffs.
However, that does nothing to answer the question I posed: "Were retaliatory tariffs even considered by our antebellum trading partners?" Specifically: did Britain or France consider retaliatory tariffs on imports from the United States?
I’ve personally never seen any evidence that they would have.

While retaliatory tariffs are always a possibility, the USA was in a very strong export position, almost a near monopoly, regarding raw cotton exports.

In such a situation retaliatory tariffs could hurt the nations imposing them without any short, or possibly even medium term, potential gain.
 

GwilymT

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GwilymT

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How do you then explain Robert Barnwell Rhett complaining at length about tariffs and spending in his address?
If it was such a concern as to “force secession” as suggested in the OP, I’d figure it would be found front and center in the secession documents. It is not. Certainly Rhett mentioned tariffs but it doesn’t follow that tariffs were the driver of secession.
 

John Fenton

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I just posted a bunch of sourced facts about the morrill tariff but it vanished....
I’m not going to do it again however in a nutshell...
The senate was still in democrat control after Lincoln was elected. The morrill tariff was not passed by the senate until after Lincoln was elected and democrats withdrew but while Buchanan was still in office, a democrat, who signed it into law. It could have been defeated in the senate without secession.
While it raised tariff rates they were still well below the high rates of the nullification era.
So while the morrill tariff may have been an issue in the election it was brought about by secession not the other way around, as in secession brought about by the tariff.
Slavery was the cause of secession and if not for that “peculiar institution” tariffs might not have been an issue at all.
 
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Tin cup

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This post is nonsense.
There were things that author of that article left out, like the Tariff crisis in 1828-32 was helped engineered by non other than MR. SOUTH CAROLINA Himself, John Calhoun!
He helped write that tariff, in hopes that it would infuriate the other States, which would side with S.C. and get NULLIFICATION on the books, to PROTECT slavery! They get nullification, for ANYTHING, then they could nullify any anti slave laws passed. That was their true goal.
Well, with some slight modifications that "tariff" passed, and left some folk with a lot of egg on their faces, and they threatened secession. NO ONE ELSE would join S.C., and Pres. Jackson threatened to come down there and use Military Force. I'm betting he'd of hung a few folk in the process!

Funny how the author of THAT article conveniently left those facts out. isn't it?

Kevin Dally
 
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O' Be Joyful

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How do you then explain Robert Barnwell Rhett complaining at length about tariffs and spending in his address?

A Fanatic? :whistling:

Was he not also the "Rhett' that stole the name Rhett, from a distant relative---along w/ plantations that came with enslaved persons attached-- to make himself appear more...uhh respectable, or was that his grand-daddy?
 

lurid

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Which as what to do with any nation imposing retaliatory tariffs on American cotton? Even with Egyptian and Indian cotton there was a severe shortage of cotton in Europe. We have some thread's on that.
Leftyhunter
If this is true then that is a big blow to the retaliatory tariff theory. The only way the Europeans would have implemented a retaliatory tariff is if the could purchase it elsewhere indefinitely cheaper...Big blow to that theory.
 

lurid

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How do you then explain Robert Barnwell Rhett complaining at length about tariffs and spending in his address?
They just were greedy and wanted to accrue wealth. They wanted low taxes in conjunction with free labor. You took that Barnwell Rhett's words at face value, and that don't mean much.

Ironically, immediately after the creation of the CSA, they imposed a tariff on exported cotton, something that the USA never did and, constitutionally, could not do.

Ryan
Okay, but I'm talking about tariffs on exports that would been retaliatory and would have costed the Confederacy money, not tariffs to make foreigners pay more money for purchasing cotton, which the Confederates had an absolute advantage on cotton exports and could have easily taxed the Europeans. Could you clarify your position a little more?
 
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Greywolf

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They just were greedy and wanted to accrue wealth. They wanted low taxes in conjunction with free labor. You took that Barnwell Rhett's words at face value, and that don't mean much.



Okay, but I'm talking about tariffs on exports that would been retaliatory and would have costed the Confederacy money, not tariffs to make foreigners pay more money for purchasing cotton, which the Confederates had an absolute advantage on cotton exports and could have easily taxed the Europeans. Could you clarify your position a little more?
Southerners wanted to acquire wealth just like their Northern counterparts did and both sections worked for the betterment of that end politically. It's just good business.
 

lurid

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Southerners wanted to acquire wealth just like their Northern counterparts did and both sections worked for the betterment of that end politically. It's just good business.
I was talking about greedy plantation owners who tried earnestly to accrue wealth via oppression and chicanery. The problem with your comparison theory is that it does not correlate with factual economic evidence and once again, has become a philosophical critique added by some obscure ethics thought that has no place in this thread and produced zero evidence to back any claims. Nevertheless, I'll play: more people have come out of poverty and their standard of living was raised from northern market capitalism than any other form of capitalism in the history of civilization. The United States of America may not be an angel and pockets might have engaged in greed, but it still has bestowed more economically and politically freedom to people of all races than any other nation in history. You can't even distantly say that about the Confederacy, because it was self-serving entity with nothing to offer people other than oppression and did nothing to help advance society. The Confederacy was pure subterfuge, so don't compare its greed to northern greed. Bad comparision...
 

Greywolf

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I was talking about greedy plantation owners who tried earnestly to accrue wealth via oppression and chicanery. The problem with your comparison theory is that it does not correlate with factual economic evidence and once again, has become a philosophical critique added by some obscure ethics thought that has no place in this thread and produced zero evidence to back any claims. Nevertheless, I'll play: more people have come out of poverty and their standard of living was raised from northern market capitalism than any other form of capitalism in the history of civilization. The United States of America may not be an angel and pockets might have engaged in greed, but it still has bestowed more economically and politically freedom to people of all races than any other nation in history. You can't even distantly say that about the Confederacy, because it was self-serving entity with nothing to offer people other than oppression and did nothing to help advance society. The Confederacy was pure subterfuge, so don't compare its greed to northern greed. Bad comparision...
You really like to make up stuff in your mind, then drabble on endlessly. I never used the word greed, you did. Both northern and southern leaders both used and attempted to use political power to improve business in a sectional way. They worked the system and that's just good business.
 
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John Fenton

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You really like to make up stuff in your mind, then drabble on endlessly. I never used the word greed, you did. Both northern and southern leaders both used and attempted to use political power to improve business in a sectional way. They worked the system and that's just good business.
Good for who ? I am sure that blacks thought it was bad business. Southern planters bucked the system and then said no to the system. It turned out to be bad business for them too. In fact to keep their bad business they agreed to tarifffs on imports AND exports.
 

Greywolf

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Good for who ? I am sure that blacks thought it was bad business. Southern planters bucked the system and then said no to the system. It turned out to be bad business for them too. In fact to keep their bad business they agreed to tarifffs on imports AND exports.
My point was regarding political economy, both sides used politics to try and sway things their way, not what blacks thought of it. Politics worked to the advantage at times for each section. Both sections were successful at times, that is apparent.
 

John Fenton

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My point was regarding political economy, both sides used politics to try and sway things their way, not what blacks thought of it. Politics worked to the advantage at times for each section. Both sections were successful at times, that is apparent.
You said it was good business. It was not. Good business endures and does not fail. Working the system was bad for the south, black and white. Ditching the system was much worse. Operating their own system by theft from another failed miserably. Insisting that their system was good divides us today.
The bottom line is that they did work the system and it was not enough. That spells g-r-e-e-d .
 
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Andersonh1

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This South Carolina writer talking about tariffs in 1851 sounds a lot like Robert Barnwell Rhett in 1860, only with more numbers and more specifics than Rhett.
First, then, since the formation of this government, and especially within the last twenty-five years, the people of the South, have been onerously and unjustly taxed by the people of the North. From the year 1790 to 1840 the South has paid seven-ninths of all the duties under the Government, and has received back only two-ninths i.e. she has paid $711,200,000, while not more than $206,000,000 have been spent in her borders: the other $505,200,000 having been expended at the North. The North has paid meantime only $215,850,097. So that the tax paid by the South per head within the period specified, has averaged $29 47 per 10 years, while that of the North has been only $8 09. In late years the disproportion has been much greater. From 1841 to 1845 the tax paid by the South per head was $10 46: the North $1 99:* making for the South per head nearly ten times more than for the North.​
This has been in the way of duties alone. Rut consider the increased price of Northern protected articles, the diminution in price of Southern produce, and the increased price of freights, due to the Tariff and navigation laws, and the South has paid to the government and to the North from 1790 to 1840, over $1,200,000,000. The one-tenth of this would make for So. Ca., in the same period, $120,000,000. But it has been estimated upon data furnished by the Congressional Documents that the South in various ways now coutributes annually to Northern wealth not less than 850, 000,000. Allowing one-tenth for South Carolina, her annual contribution to the North is about $5,000,000: being upwards of $17 for every white soul, man, woman and child, among us, while our State tax is little over one dollar to the white inhabitant.​
What people, claiming to be free, ever endured taxation so unequal, unjust and enormous !​
- pp 30, 31 "Separate State Secession Practically Discussed" in a series of articles published originally in the Edgefield Advertiser, by "Rutledge", 1851​
 
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thomas aagaard

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The Tariff of 1857's cuts lasted only three years. In 1861, the country changed course again under the heavily protectionist Morrill Tariff.

https://carolana.com/SC/1800s/antebellum/antebellum_tariffs.html
A tariff that was only passed because of the secession of a number of southern states.

Also one thing many clearly forget, is the simple fact that the federal government was running a big deficit and they needed to do something about this. And since Tariffs was the only real tool available to the federal government, raising the rates was needed.
 

lurid

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People of the south seemed bent on being lead by the paranoia of the slaveocracy. The Morrill Tariff was never adopted when the South's Reps in Washington were still in office. Again, no one has shown how the "tariff" would affect the average southern household, who didn't seem to import much of anything.

Kevin Dally
***Edited***

The bottom-line, the Confederacy had a longing to sustain slavery and definitely tried to place a stronghold on it. The tariffs were nowhere as valuable as slavery. All the south's net worth was tied up in land and slaves, so calculate the price of a slave x the amount of slaves x the labor. I assure you that they could not afford to set the slaves free and could have afford to pay the over exaggerated tariffs.

You really like to make up stuff in your mind, then drabble on endlessly. I never used the word greed, you did. Both northern and southern leaders both used and attempted to use political power to improve business in a sectional way. They worked the system and that's just good business.
Again, the south's political stance was to promote greed that benefited no one except cotton planters, so that was a failed business. Whereas, the north's business practice benefited countless people.
 
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Patrick Sulley

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Thanks for using sources for your statement. I notice the closest statement to the Civil War is from 1833. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/reasons-secession is a documentary study of the reasons for secession based on the statements of the reasons for secession given by the seceding states that listed their grievances. The only state that included any concern with economic domination by the North was Georgia. The study concluded that such concerns made up 15% of Georgia's statement. So to me, the main issue with your concept is that Confederates barely mentioned economic matters at all. Slavery, States right and Lincoln election were all more prominent according to those who seceded at the time they seceded. I take them at their word.
Actually South Carolina also expressed concern over taxation and where and how much was spend on the north. http://history.furman.edu/~benson/docs/SCaddress.htm start at chapter 3, "
Discontent and contention have moved in the bosom of the Confederacy for the last thirty-five years. During this time, South Carolina has twice called her people together in solemn Convention, to take into consideration the aggressions and unconstitutional wrongs perpetrated by the people of the North on the people of the South. These wrongs were submitted to by the people of the South, under the hope and expectation that they would be final. But such hope and expectation have proved to be vain. Instead of producing forbearance, our acquiescence has only instigated to new forms of aggression and outrage; and South Carolina, having again assembled her people in Convention, has this day dissolved her connection with the States constituting the United States.

[p2]
The one great evil, from which all other evils have flowed, is the overthrow of the Constitution of the United States. The Government of the United States is no longer the Government of Confederated Republics, but of a consolidated Democracy. It is no longer a free government, but a despotism. It is, in fact, such a Government as Great Britain attempted to set over our fathers; and which was resisted and defeated by a seven years’ struggle for independence.

[p3]
The Revolution of 1776 turned upon one great principle, self-government – and self-taxation, the criterion of self-government. Where the interests of two people united together under one Government, are different, each must have the power to protect its interests by the organization of the Government, or they cannot be free. The interests of Great Britain and of the Colonies were different and antagonistic. Great Britain was desirous of carrying out the policy of all nations towards their Colonies, of making them tributary to her wealth and power. She had vast and complicated relations with the whole world. Her policy towards her North American Colonies was to identify them with her in all these complicated relations; and to make them bear, in common with the rest of the Empire, the full burden of her obligations and necessities. She had a vast public debt; she had an European policy and an Asiatic policy, which had occasioned the accumulation of her public debt; and which kept her in continual wars. The North American Colonies saw their interests, political and commercial, sacrificed by such a policy. Their interests required that they should not be identified with the burdens and wars of the mother country. They had been settled under charters, which gave them self-government; at least so far as their property was concerned. They had taxed themselves, and had never been taxed by the Government of Great Britain. To make them a part of a consolidated Empire, the Parliament of Great Britain determined to assume the power of legislating for the Colonies in all cases whatsoever. Our ancestors resisted the pretension. They refused to be a part of the consolidated Government of Great Britain.

[p4]
The Southern States now stand exactly in the same position towards the Northern States that the Colonies did towards Great Britain. The Northern States, having the majority in Congress, claim the same power of omnipotence in legislation as the British Parliament. "The General Welfare," is the only limit to the legislation of either; and the majority in Congress, as in the British Parliament, are the sole judges of the expediency of the legislation this "General Welfare" requires. Thus, the Government of the United States has become a consolidated Government; and the people of the Southern States are compelled to meet the very despotism their fathers threw off in the Revolution of 1776.

[p5]
The consolidation of the Government of Great Britain over the Colonies, was attempted to be carried out by the taxes. The British Parliament undertook to tax the Colonies, to promote British interests. Our fathers resisted this pretension. They claimed the right of self-taxation through their Colonial Legislatures. They were not represented in the British Parliament, and, therefore, could not rightly be taxed by its legislation. The British Government, however, offered them a representation in Parliament; but it was not sufficient to enable them to protect themselves from the majority, and they refused the offer. Between taxation without any representation, and taxation without a representation adequate to protection, there was no difference. In neither case would the Colonies tax themselves. Hence, they refused to pay the taxes laid by the British Parliament.

[p6]
And so with the Southern States, towards the Northern States, in the vital matter of taxation. They are in a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress is useless to protect them against unjust taxation; and they are taxed by the people of the North for their benefit, exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our ancestors in the British Parliament for their benefit. For the last forty years, the taxes laid by the Congress of the United States, have been laid with a view of subserving the interests of the North. The people of the South have been taxed by duties on imports, not for revenue, but for an object inconsistent with revenue – to promote, by prohibitions, Northern interests in the productions of their mines and manufactures.

[p7]
There is another evil, in the condition of the Southern towards the Northern States, which our ancestors refused to bear towards Great Britain. Our ancestors not only taxed themselves, but all the taxes collected from them, were expended amongst them. Had they submitted to the pretensions of the British Government, the taxes collected from them would have been expended in other parts of the British Empire. They were fully aware of the effect of such a policy in impoverishing the people from whom taxes are collected, and in enriching those who receive the benefit of their expenditure. To prevent the evils of such a policy, was one of the motives which drove them on to revolution. Yet this British policy has been fully realized towards the Southern States by the Northern States. The people of the Southern States are not only taxed for the benefit of the Northern States, but after the taxes are collected, three- fourths of them are expended at the North. This cause, with others, connected with the operation of the General Government, has made the cities of the South provincial. Their growth is paralyzed; they are mere suburbs of Northern cities. The agricultural productions of the South are the basis of the foreign commerce of the United States; yet Southern cities do not carry it on. Our foreign trade is almost annihilated. In 1740, there were five ship-yards in South Carolina, to build ships to carry on our direct trade with Europe. Between 1740 and 1779, there were built in these yards, twenty-five square rigged vessels, besides a great number of sloops and schooners, to carry on our coast and West India trade. In the half century immediately preceding the Revolution, from 1725 to 1775, the population of South Carolina increased seven-fold.

[p8]
 

Patrick Sulley

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There was no tax on exports that i know of however buying fewer imports from cotton buying countries would lower cotton revenues if they bought less cotton. But again the southern democrats controlled congress and the exec branch when the tariffs in operation from 1846 were imposed and could have voted down the morill tariff if they had not seceded.
Also they imposed an embargo of cotton exports to force recognition by England and France , their two largest importers.
They simply did not think this thing through, imo.
Respectfully, John
tariff tax of 1846 (which lasted thru 1857) put a 25 percent tax on exported cotton...schedule C. there is 500 pounds per bale of cotton. cotton sold for 10 to 12.5 cent per pound. let's round down (to give benefit of doubt) to 50 dollars per bale. Roughly 3 to 4 million bales were exported per year in the years leading up to the Civil war. 50 dollars per bale times 3 to 4 million bales exported equals roughly 200 million dollars exported per year 25% duty or tax on that between 1846/57 or 24 percent from 1858/60 is roughly rounded down (again for the benefit of doubt) to 40 million of the 53 million the federal government took in in taxes.....just in slave labor cotton alone....mind you...not any other southern export..

"The Tariff of 1828 was a protective tariff passed by the Congress of the United States on May 19, 1828, designed to protect industry in the Northern United States. Created during the presidency of John Quincy Adams and enacted during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, it was labeled the "Tariff of Abominations" by its Southern detractors because of the effects it had on the Southern economy. It set a 38% tax on 92% of all imported goods and a 45% tax on raw materials, such as tobacco and cotton, two of the South's strongest commodity" (
) and was replaced with the Walker tariff that replaced taxes with ad valorem duties and dropped the 45% tax on cotton to 25%. It appears that the 25% levied on cotton via the act of 1846 is not in fact an "export tax" "duty" out of the USA but rather to northern states in the form of "ad valorem duties".
 
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