The Hard Cost of South Carolina's Secession

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#1
I seek from posters answers to these two questions: How much money did South Carolina Seceshers expect to pay for their independence, and where was the money to come from?

Independence always costs money. The SC Seceshers (SCS) knew that. They knew that war would follow their action and that wars cost hard money. No one goes to war without counting the cost. Has anyone seen any estimates from the SCS concerning the cost of their action? Whether yes or no and the answer must remain a mystery, can anyone explain where the money would come from? I am not looking for a short answer like "cotton," as in "Cotton is King." I am looking for real numbers. E.g., we know from SCS's own declarations that their being shut out of the western territories was a factor in their decision. We know that the Gadsden Purchase alone cost $10 million. For the sake of argument, let us say that the rest of Arizona and New Mexico were worth another $10 million for a total of $20 million. Certainly the SCS had in mind to capture this property in some way shape or form. Questio: where did they expect to come up with this $20 million? Surely one answer to the question was from sister Southern states that would chip in --which means they had to expect Secession to spread to other states that also had to come up with the money. So, with these factors in mind, where was the money to come from? Who was going to pay and how much would have to be paid? And more particularly, how much would SC be able to pony up with planters leaving for more nutritious western soils that we call Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, and with SC soils almost totally worn out? Again, let me repeat: How did SCS expect to pay? Please try to confine any posts exclusively to SCS, though I certainly welcome other answers. My primary concern is South Carolina.

James Lutzweiler
 

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Jimklag

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#2
It is very difficult to give detailed answers to questions about events that never happened and were not likely to happen. The South Carolinians, at the time of secession, were not calculating cost or consequences. Rather than using their heads, the were using other, lower parts of the anatomy to do their thinking for them. It would, however, be an interesting exercise for SC to attempt the unilateral conquest of the desert southwest. The biggest of the potential hypothetical questions is why would they want it?
 
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#5
It is very difficult to give detailed answers to questions about events that never happened and were not likely to happen. The South Carolinians, at the time of secession, were not calculating cost or consequences. Rather than using their heads, the were using other, lower parts of the anatomy to do their thinking for them. It would, however, be an interesting exercise for SC to attempt the unilateral conquest of the desert southwest. The biggest of the potential hypothetical questions is why would they want it?
Also @James Lutzweiler ,
In point of fact Confederate troops from Texas did try to seize the New Mexico Territory and possibly try to also seize Southern California. We have a battle forum that covers the war in the Southwest. Unfortunately for the Confederacy "Pike's Peakers" got the best of them at Albuquerque,New Mexico and also the Battle of Glorieta Pass . I don't know how much money the Confederacy put into the offensive. So yes the Confederacy tried to seize the Southwest plus the Indian Territory ( present day Oklahoma) but they were a day late and a dollar short.
Leftyhunter
 
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#6
It is very difficult to give detailed answers to questions about events that never happened and were not likely to happen. The South Carolinians, at the time of secession, were not calculating cost or consequences. Rather than using their heads, the were using other, lower parts of the anatomy to do their thinking for them. It would, however, be an interesting exercise for SC to attempt the unilateral conquest of the desert southwest. The biggest of the potential hypothetical questions is why would they want it?
Thank you.
 
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#8
Also @James Lutzweiler ,
In point of fact Confederate troops from Texas did try to seize the New Mexico Territory and possibly try to also seize Southern California. We have a battle forum that covers the war in the Southwest. Unfortunately for the Confederacy "Pike's Speakers" got the best of them at Albuquerque,New Mexico and also the Battle of Glorieta Pass . I don't know how much money the Confederacy put into the offensive. So yes the Confederacy tried to seize the Southwest plus the Indian Territory ( present day Oklahoma) but they were a day late and a dollar short.
Leftyhunter
Thank you.
 
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#10
Here is Harper's account starting on page 124 that may give you a chill @James Lutzweiler;
"Apart from the public lands, it is safe to estimate that national property worth a hundred million dollars was seized by the confederacy. The South, moreover had always been a large debtor to the North. Southern merchants and planters made their purchases upon the credit of the cotton crop to be brought to market. The amount of the debt thus due at the time of secession has been variously estimated at from one hundred to three hundred millions of dollars....mortgaged at half-value....owed three hundred and fifty millions to the North. [The crop?] This was at once confiscated, and the debtors were ordered to pay the amount into the Confederate treasury."
Lubliner.
 

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#11
Also @James Lutzweiler ,
In point of fact Confederate troops from Texas did try to seize the New Mexico Territory and possibly try to also seize Southern California. We have a battle forum that covers the war in the Southwest. Unfortunately for the Confederacy "Pike's Speakers" got the best of them at Albuquerque,New Mexico and also the Battle of Glorieta Pass . I don't know how much money the Confederacy put into the offensive. So yes the Confederacy tried to seize the Southwest plus the Indian Territory ( present day Oklahoma) but they were a day late and a dollar short.
Leftyhunter
The OP confuses the question by introducing possible acquisitions by the eventual rebel 'government'. In spite of this, the OP asks "how much money did South Carolina Seceshers expect to pay for their independence, and where was the money to come from?
While I have seen information on how the founders of the so-called Confederate States thought they would finance their 'government', I have seen little if any information specific to South Carolina.
First, we need to recognize that in 1860, government spending was small and largely a matter for the individual states. To a South Carolinian at the time, there was little expectation of a large growth in the State's spending. At most, it was simply a matter of how to replace whatever minimal benefits their State got from the Federal government when the cost of those benefits became the State's responsibility.
What financing was required seems to have been assumed would be obtained based on exports of cotton and loans from foreign banks, loans obtained using the assets represented by slaves as collateral and the expectation of a continued high-profit cotton trade. The value of slaves held in all of the United States in 1860 had steadily increased to about $3 Billion.
<Roger L. Ransom and Richard Sutch. "Capitalists Without Capital: The Burden of Slavery and the Impact of Emancipation," Agricultural History, Vol. 62 (Summer 1988).>
(The potential loss of so great an investment most certainly outweighed any concerns over financing for an independent government).
Cotton exports by 1860 had reached a high of about $180 Million.
<Douglass C. North, The Economic Growth of the United States, 1790-1860. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1961), p. 233.>
 
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#13
Here is Harper's account starting on page 124 that may give you a chill @James Lutzweiler;
"Apart from the public lands, it is safe to estimate that national property worth a hundred million dollars was seized by the confederacy. The South, moreover had always been a large debtor to the North. Southern merchants and planters made their purchases upon the credit of the cotton crop to be brought to market. The amount of the debt thus due at the time of secession has been variously estimated at from one hundred to three hundred millions of dollars....mortgaged at half-value....owed three hundred and fifty millions to the North. [The crop?] This was at once confiscated, and the debtors were ordered to pay the amount into the Confederate treasury."
Lubliner.
Dear Lubliner,

Can't thank you enough for this wonderful quote. I have long considered South Carolina's Secession to be not only a Declaration of Independence but also a Declaration of Debt Repudiation. Your quote does nothing to undermine this belief. Edited.

Did I thank you for this wonderful quote? I see that I did. Bears repeating.

Harper's where? What Harpers?

James
 

Eric Calistri

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#14
The secessionists were concerned with preservation of the value of their property, ie slaves. GA put this at 3 billion, MS at 4 billion. As you can see theses figures that were explicitly mentioned in the respective Declarations of causes dwarf or the 10 or 20 million in the OP.

From what I’ve read in the state secession conventions, the general opinion seemed to be that what had been national issues should be left for the soon to be formed Government in Montgomery. I don’t think any states, for example, built a navy, or instituted a tariff or legalized the international slave trade. The funds confiscated from the United States mints, post offices, customs houses, were used by the Confederacy. This is somewhat discussed in Davis “A Goverment of Our Own.”

I don’t recall that SC discussed the costs associated with western territories at all. Correct me if I’m wrong. They were certainly concerned about Federal containment of slavery in the west.
 
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#15
The OP confuses the question by introducing possible acquisitions by the eventual rebel 'government'. In spite of this, the OP asks "how much money did South Carolina Seceshers expect to pay for their independence, and where was the money to come from?
While I have seen information on how the founders of the so-called Confederate States thought they would finance their 'government', I have seen little if any information specific to South Carolina.
First, we need to recognize that in 1860, government spending was small and largely a matter for the individual states. To a South Carolinian at the time, there was little expectation of a large growth in the State's spending. At most, it was simply a matter of how to replace whatever minimal benefits their State got from the Federal government when the cost of those benefits became the State's responsibility.
What financing was required seems to have been assumed would be obtained based on exports of cotton and loans from foreign banks, loans obtained using the assets represented by slaves as collateral and the expectation of a continued high-profit cotton trade. The value of slaves held in all of the United States in 1860 had steadily increased to about $3 Billion.
<Roger L. Ransom and Richard Sutch. "Capitalists Without Capital: The Burden of Slavery and the Impact of Emancipation," Agricultural History, Vol. 62 (Summer 1988).>
(The potential loss of so great an investment most certainly outweighed any concerns over financing for an independent government).
Cotton exports by 1860 had reached a high of about $180 Million.
<Douglass C. North, The Economic Growth of the United States, 1790-1860. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1961), p. 233.>
Thank you. Very useful for me.

Did I already say thank you?

James
 
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#16
The secessionists were concerned with preservation of the value of their property, ie slaves. GA put this at 3 billion, MS at 4 billion. As you can see theses figures that were explicitly mentioned in the respective Declarations of causes dwarf or the 10 or 20 million in the OP.

From what I’ve read in the state secession conventions, the general opinion seemed to be that what had been national issues should be left for the soon to be formed Government in Montgomery. I don’t think any states, for example, built a navy, or instituted a tariff or legalized the international slave trade. The funds confiscated from the United States mints, post offices, customs houses, were used by the Confederacy. This is somewhat discussed in Davis “A Goverment of Our Own.”

I don’t recall that SC discussed the costs associated with western territories at all. Correct me if I’m wrong. They were certainly concerned about Federal containment of slavery in the west.
Thanks very much. Very useful.
 
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#17
Dear Blue and Gray,

Noticing that I have that you are from California, I will pass along to you and other posters --but you especially-- one answer to my own question about the financing of Secession (and South Carolina's in particular) as something you might use as a conversation starter on your home turf. The short answer is "California" or at least "southern California."

The longer answer is this. When I taught American history at our local community college and got down to the Civil War period, I would Rorschach my students with this question: "When I say Civil War, what is the first State that comes to your mind?" Then I would go around the room and ask them individually for their answers. Customary answers were South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and maybe Massachusetts. Once they all had a chance to reply, I would tell them the answer I was looking for was California --that they had identified States where most of the battles had taken place rather than the state that was the prize that the North and the South were both fighting for.

There is even a longer answer to all of that, but you will get my drift in a heartbeat. The longer longer answer can be found on two other threads within this forum. Both are about the transcontinental railroad. Long story. But if you use this Rorschach among your California friends and get some good reactions, I would like to hear about them.

Please not above that I said "One" answer to my own question is California. It is not the only answer; and I have posted this question because I do not know all the other answers. however, I have certainly already been enriched by the post of Lubliner above. I repeat: what a fine and serviceable post!

James
 
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#20
How much money did South Carolina Seceshers expect to pay for their independence, and where was the money to come from?

Independence always costs money.
There are many who like to compare the civil war to the American revolution. I don’t but for arguments sake let’s say they compare. How did the patriots expect to finance the war ? They had less ability to tax and regulate trade than the confederacy did. The British blockaded their ports and restricted exports. They printed money that caused inflation. There are many similarities. What did the Americans bank on , literally, to finance the revolution ? What was a major difference between the circumstances of the colonies and the old south ? Foreign recognition! I seem to remember the confederacy seeking foreign recognition at all costs. So much so that they starved themselves with an embargo to force recognition. The colonies got foreign loans and a treaty with France. The confederacy could not get what they needed even if they got clandestine support.
The point being, they didn’t think. They hoped. They had a history of shooting first and asking questions later.
 



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