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Tariffs

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by redfish, Aug 13, 2002.

  1. Potomac Pride

    Potomac Pride Sergeant

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    Actually, Georgia did not say that the tariff issue had been settled. In their secession document, it states that a verdict in favor of free trade had been made by the people as a result of the tariff act of 1846. However, the following paragraph states that the verdict was now being threatened because of the coalition that had been struck between the protectionist advocates and the anti-slavery supporters in the Republican Party. This section of the document echoes a speech given by Senator Robert Toombs where he makes reference to the proposed Morrill Tariff.
     
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  3. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    More from the NY Times on the topic of opinions regarding the Tariff from 4/23/1861:

    The British Press has swung round again. At the outset of the secession movement, its sympathies, (if such cold-blooded speculations deserve the name,) were with the American Government. It saw no good reason for destroying a Union which had made the American people so prosperous, and purchased so largely of British goods. British trade had increased largely under the stimulus of good government in the United States, -- therefore these organs of British opinion were opposed to its destruction.

    Presently came a nipping frost to all these sympathies. It came in the shape of the Morril tariff. The American Government proposed to tax British iron, British cloth, and various other British goods, -- and it was even suspected that this was done for the benefit of American manufactures. The Negro Confederacy, on the other hand, talked about Free Trade. They proposed to form an alliance with Great Britain, and admit the products of her labor free of duty. Here was a revelation. What a chance for British iron-makers and cotton-spinners! What golden visions of wealth dazzled the eyes of John Bull. Forthwith the British Press began to consider the other side of the question. England, after all, in spite of her sympathy with law and order and government, -- in spite of her hatred of negro slavery, must consult her interests. She must sell her goods, and she had no right to inquire into the moral character of her customers. Slavery was very bad to be sure, -- but then, you know, we must have cotton. National relations cannot be regulated by the code of morals. There were a great many reasons against the recognition of this new Government, -- but, then, the prospect of Free-trade was a powerful lure, and the British Press thought that, on the whole, England must look at things as they are and not as she would have them, and recognize the fact that the American Union was utterly, finally and hopelessly dissolved.

    But the wind shifts again -- and the British Press shifts with it. The new Confederacy puts an export duty on cotton! British goods may come in free, -- but the material out of which they are made goes out burdened by a heavy duty. This is a new revelation of human depravity, and the British Press is shocked accordingly. It visits upon JEFF. DAVIS and his gang of rebels the choicest epithets in its copious vocabulary. John Bull could have forgiven rebellion, Slavery, the Slave-trade, piracy, plunder, anything and everything but an export duty on cotton. That enormity transcends his patience, and he seems quite inclined to throw his new-found nation overboard. The British Press is quite in despair at the prospect. It cannot put money in the British pocket either way. The Government of the Union swindles the British nation by the Morrill Tariff on the one hand, and the Negro Confederacy plunders it by the export cotton duty on the other. The British Press is thoroughly puzzled by this extraordinary state of things, and sees only one thing clearly, -- namely, that whatever may be the issue of the secession movement, England must foot the bill. Both parties to the controversy are agreed upon this point, -- if upon no other.

    Just at present, therefore, the British Press seems to be neutral in the great conflict for Freedom and Civilization and Constitutional law which convulses the Western Continent.How long it will remain so depends upon the next turn of the tariff. Half a penny a pound either way decides the question. Not a thought for the great principles involved, -- not a word of sympathy for the great Republic of the West, -- the great Republic of History, struggling in the slimy coils of a gigantic conspiracy, which aims at the overthrow of Liberty, and the destruction of everything which freemen hold dear. All this is utterly discarded, -- all thought of it repudiated, for the chance of selling goods a farthing higher! If the British Press accurately represents the British nation, in its views concerning the revolution now in progress here, it is a matter of little consequence whether we have its sympathy or not.
     
  4. trice

    trice Major

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    Louisiana sure didn't object to the Tariff on sugar imports (which meant extra profits to them). Back in the 1830s, South Carolina was plenty willing to push for a protective Tariff on rice imports when they discovered that rice from Java and India could be sold on the docks in Charleston for less than rice floated down the river from the plantations above. They got it done in the "Black Tariff" of 1842.

    In 1861, when the Confederacy was still meeting in Montgomery, the hotels and bars and street-corners were crowded with lobbyists from across the seven seceding states, all pushing for a tariff law that would benefit their own interests. One of the considerations that the Confederacy offered to get Virginia to secede during the "Winter of Secession" was a high protective tariff that would make Virginia the "New England of the Confederacy".

    There certainly was an element in "the South" that objected to protective tariffs -- the concept just wasn't a cut-and-dried high moral one. It bent to self interest and political advantage on more than one occasion.
     
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  5. trice

    trice Major

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    The 1846 "Walker Tariff" had been replaced by the even lower Tariff of 1857. The Tariff of 1857 was widely regarded as the lowest in the world and had was regarded as a major part of the financial disaster the Southern-dominated Buchanan Administration presided over. Even the Secretary of the Treasury -- Howell Cobb of Georgia -- was asking for a higher tariff in 1860 because of the terrible state of government finances.

    The First Morrill Tariff under consideration in 1860-61 was presented by its' advocates largely as an attempt to get back to the Tariff of 1846. Criticism of it was led by men like Senator R. M. T. Hunter of Virginia (who had authored the Tariff of 1857 in the first place and regarded it as his child) as part of the Election of 1860. Without secession and the withdrawal of Senators, Hunter probably would have kept it from reaching the Senate floor, but he lost control of the Finance Committee without their votes.

    Then the Civil War started and the First Morrill Tarriff was inadequate to the financial burden of fighting a major war. The ink was barely dry before Congress replaced it with the higher Second Morrill Tariff.

    No one knows what effect the First Morrill Tariff might have had if "the South" had remained in Congress. Most likely, IMHO, some compromise bill would have been adopted in 1861 or so. The financial disaster the Buchanan administration was leaving behind required new revenue quickly.
     
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  6. cedarstripper

    cedarstripper First Sergeant

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    Do you mean you don't trust things written by Mike Scruggs?
     
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  7. civilken

    civilken 2nd Lieutenant

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    I cannot believe after all this time some people are still talking about tariffs await that reminds me of the leprechaun I once spoke to.
     
  8. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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  9. DanF

    DanF Captain

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    Fire eater Laurence Keitt made a point of refutting Tariffs being a cause of secession of South Carolina during the secession convention.

    ... My friend from Richland said that the violation of the Fugitive Slave Laws are not sufficient, and he calls up the Tariff. Is that one of the causes at this time? What is that cause? Your late Senators, and every one of your members of the House of Representatives, voted for the present tariff. [Mr. Miles. I did not.] Well, those who were there at the time voted for it, and I have no doubt you would, if you were in it. The question of the tariff did agitate us in 1832, and it did array this State against the Federal Government.....

    ...."But the Tariff is not the question which brought the people up to their present attitude. We are to give a summary of our causes to the world, but mainly to the other Southern States, whose co-action we wish, and we must not make a fight on the Tariff question...... "

    He then identifies what the issue is.

    ...... Our people have come to this on the question of slavery. I am willing, in that address to rest it upon that question. I think it is the great central point from which we are now proceeding, and I am not willing to divert the public attention from it..........

    Laurence Keitt,
    December 22, 1860 (Fifth Day of the State Convention.)

    http://history.furman.edu/benson/docs/scdebate2.htm
     
  10. civilken

    civilken 2nd Lieutenant

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  11. Harvey Johnson

    Harvey Johnson Sergeant

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  12. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    Subtitled: Phil Leigh gets even more desperate. I can't wait to hear how the low tariff era of the mid to late 20th century eliminated monopolies. Fascinating, if you are a fan of sophistry.
     
  13. Harvey Johnson

    Harvey Johnson Sergeant

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    Tariffs dropped to approximate "free trade" levels after the end of World War II when the manufacturers in the Northern states had no overseas completion due to the wartime wreckage in Europe and Asia.

    Within twenty years Yankeedom started to be nicknamed the Rust Belt. Today's Detroit shows how poorly Yankee manufacturers could compete without protective tariffs.
     
  14. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Tariffs did not cause the Civil War.

    Yankeedom is a term used by those who are stuck in a fantasy past.

    And I don't think Northern business interests of the 19th century had any control over 21st century car manufacturing.
     
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  15. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    Perhaps you might search out a more appropriate forum to share your "expertise" on 20 th century economics. This is like the great great grandson of a red herring in regards to Civil War Talk.
     
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  16. Bee

    Bee 1st Lieutenant

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    An immediate indication that someone has such an emotional bias that no rational conversation can be expected.
     
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  17. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Exactly.
     
  18. Harvey Johnson

    Harvey Johnson Sergeant

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    You were the one who brought up the time frame.
     
  19. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    So you linked to an article you didn't read? Ouch.
     
  20. Harvey Johnson

    Harvey Johnson Sergeant

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    So, Eric Foner's subtitle "America's Unfinished Revolution" to his Reconstruction textbook disqualifies it for discussion on this forum?

    That is the conclusion of your illogic if applied consistently.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  21. cash

    cash Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    No it isn't. As anyone who read the book knows, the subtitle doesn't refer to the 20th Century. So one cannot honestly make that claim if one has read the book.
     
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