The Walker Tariff of 1846

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Patrick Sulley

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Aug 8, 2019
the south had no industry to speak of
which meant that most of the products needed in the south could not be manufactured and needed to be shipped south from northern states or imported and shipped down. Since northern states could manufacture most of the products they need it didnt matter how much of the populace was in the north....they still didnt import...why would they? So population size would only matter if products could be made equally in both places. they could not be. Most imported products ended up south. just common sense.
 

Horrido67

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I am not aware of any protest over tariffs from the South and I don't think the Congress proposed any tariff-related compromise to prevent the war. Tariffs or import duties weren't much discussed as slavery at secession conventions nor it was stated as a reason for slave states to secede from the Union.

Also, I like to quote this speech by Henry Benning to the Virginia Secession Convention

Then the question is, will you have protection necessary to accomplish this result? I say I think you will. I do not come here, as I said at the outset, to make promises; but I will give my opinion, and that is that the South will support itself by duties on imports. It has certainly begun to do that. We have merely adopted the revenue system of the United States so far, and are now collecting the revenue under an old law. Our Constitution has said that Congress should have the power to lay duties for revenue, to pay debts and to carry on the government, and therefore there is a limit to the extent that this protection can go, and within that the South can give protection that will be sufficient to enable you to compete with the North. We have got to have a navy, and an army, and we have got to make up that army speedily. It must be a much larger army than we have been accustomed to have in the late Union-it must be large in proportion to the armv that it will have to meet. These things will require a revenue of about 10 per cent, which will yield an aggregate of about $20,000,000, and with this per cent, it would be in the power of Virginia to compete, in a short time, with all the nations of the earth in all the important branches of manufacture. Why? Because manufacturing has now been brought to such perfection by the invention of new machinery. The result will be the immigration of the best men of the North; skilled artizans and men of capital will come here and establish works among you. You have the advantage of longer days and shorter winters, and of being nearer to the raw material of a very important article of manufacture. I have no idea that the duties will be as low as 10 per cent. My own opinion is that we shall have as high duty as is now charged by the General Government at Washington. If that matter is regarded as important by this Convention, why the door is open for negotiation with us. We have but a provisional and temporary government so far. If it be found that Virginia requires more protection than this upon any particular article of manufacture let her come in the spirit of a sister, to our Congress and say, we want more protection upon this or that article, and she will, I have no doubt, receive it. She will be met in the most fraternal and complying spirit.

It seems to me that at least Virginia wanted protectionist tariffs or at least a delegate from Georgia believed that Virginia wanted one. Plus, I believe other Southern states wanted some tariffs on particular items to protect their industry.

Also didn't North import more goods from overseas and tariffs were mostly collected at Northern ports? Again, I am more than happy to be corrected.

Just one more thing, didn't John C. Calhoun who was himself South Carolinian say that the real cause was slavery in the mist of the Nullification Crisis? If the question over tariffs leads us back to the very question of slavery, wouldn't it be appropriate to say that the cause of the Civil war was slavery rather than tariffs? Thank you in advance.
 
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trice

Colonel
Joined
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not only the failure of the bank...but it cant be underestimated that 30,000 pounds of gold lost at sea when the SS Central America sank during the North Carolina Hurricane of 1857. wiki.."SS Central America, known as the Ship of Gold, was a 280-foot (85 m) sidewheel steamer that ... SS George Law, after Mr. George Law of New York. The ship sank in a hurricane in September 1857, along with 425 of her 578 passengers and crew and 30,000 pounds (14,000 kg) of gold, contributing to the Panic of 1857. "

You are not just being way too simple here.

Example: one of the major causes of the Panic of 1857 was the end of the Crimean War in 1856.

During the Crimean War, British and French were devoted to that war. After the war, they were freed up. Britain was the lowest cost/highest quality iron and steel producer. They had excess capacity after the war and, naturally enough, were trying to sell their excess production in the US -- "dumping" in the view of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey manufacturers, driving selling prices down and threatening the existence of American companies. They saw a replay of the situation in the 1830s, where US iron manufacturers were devastated by British competition (destroying much of the Virginia iron industry and blighting the area called The Wilderness, for one) as part of the Panic of 1837.

During the Crimean War, British and French merchantmen were banned from carrying Russian goods by the blockade laws (and the British and French fleets). US merchantmen took over most of that carrying trade. With the end of that British and French merchantmen flooded back into the Russian trade, cutting out US merchantmen. This loss of trade contributed to the massive oversupply of US shipping capacity.

Other things:
The Cailfornia Gold Rush had driven a large expansion of the US money supply in the 1850s. By the mid-1850s, the shipments of new gold were leveling off and beginning to decline. This led to a tightening of credit and less lending (also made western banks look a lot less credit-worthy).

The California Gold Rush drove a massive American ship-building boom. At the same time, the steamship technology was being introduced, creating even more carrying capacity. Suddenly, there were too many ships, way too many ships, and not enough cargo being shipped to keep them busy. New construction was being abandoned, never finished, because there was no chance of getting paid for them. Existing ships were laying idle in port, unable to find work.

In the stock market, the railroad stock bubble burst with a very big bang after July of 1857. In August, the N. H. Wolfe and Company (oldest flour and grain firm in New York ) went belly-up. Then the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company exploded in a fraud scheme (probably the bank you are talking about; Ohio Life seems to have defaulted on about $7 million, but the banks related to them had generally been covered, limiting the damage).

The sinking of the SS Central America with 30,000 pounds of gold in a September hurricane was painful, but things much vaster than that were already at work and had been for more than a year before the ship sank.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Easy, with the expansion West and the certain loss of power by the Democrats in the House of Representatives and in the Senate they couldn't keep the Walker tariff in place even if they wanted to stay. They're not oblivious to what would happen in the future once the Republicans or whigs take control. It's a common fallacy to say "yeah but tariffs we're low" not by choice of the northern states. Make no mistake...I am not saying slavery was not the main issue...but it only takes one small straw to break the camel's back

Yes, thanks for confirming that I was correct about the so-called ominous tariff issue was pure speculation and not remotely actual. Again, how did the those tariffs affect the southern economy with all speculation aside?
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
not really...just look at the Morrill tariff to glance into the future of taxes going forward. It passed the house in the 1859/60 session. debated before that. the writing quite literally was on the wall

Yes, the "writing on the wall" theory equates to pure speculation. You're talking politics and we're talking economics. There is no economic proof that the Walker tariff would have ignited any controversy from the south, on the contrary, it promoted free trade.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
which meant that most of the products needed in the south could not be manufactured and needed to be shipped south from northern states or imported and shipped down. Since northern states could manufacture most of the products they need it didnt matter how much of the populace was in the north....they still didnt import...why would they? So population size would only matter if products could be made equally in both places. they could not be. Most imported products ended up south. just common sense.

This is unrealistic.

Example: US imports of textile products tended to consist of more expensive and intricate products (ginghams, etc.) while US manufacturers tended to produce simpler weaves. Since a large part of the population in "the South" were enslaved or "yeoman farmers" who lived in cash-poor barter economies, it seems unlikely that those expensive goods were being sold to "the South" exclusively.

Example: Russia was a large supplier of pig-iron to the US in the 1850s (because they were the low-cost manufacturer). I find it extremely unlikely that Russian pig-iron was being shipped down the coast to "the South" in large quantities.

Example: in 1860, US production and imports of iron products look like this:
  • Production 821,000 tons
  • Imports 395,000 tons
    • Pig Iron 106,000 tons
    • Hammered/Rolled Bar 110,000 tons
    • Railroad Iron 122,000 tons
    • Other 57,000 tons (generally manufactured items like anvils, anchors, tools and machinery)
    • it takes about 1.25 tons of Pig Iron to make 1 ton of bar or railroad iron
I doubt "the South" was the destination of most of those imports. In particular, much of the Railroad Iron was more expensive/higher quality rail and most RR's in "the South" were built with cheaper alternatives.​
I think you are basing much of your argument on things you believe, but probably have not researched heavily. I do not think they are accurate reflections of what was going on in US imports.
 

Patrick Sulley

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Hello, Mr. Patrick Sulley. I have a few questions and I'd be happy if you could answer them.



I am not aware of any protest over tariffs from the South and I don't think the Congress proposed any tariff-related compromise to prevent the war. Tariffs or import duties weren't much discussed as slavery at secession conventions nor it was stated as a reason for slave states to secede from the Union. Would you kindly source your claim? Thank you.

Also, I like to quote this speech by Henry Benning to the Virginia Secession Convention

Then the question is, will you have protection necessary to accomplish this result? I say I think you will. I do not come here, as I said at the outset, to make promises; but I will give my opinion, and that is that the South will support itself by duties on imports. It has certainly begun to do that. We have merely adopted the revenue system of the United States so far, and are now collecting the revenue under an old law. Our Constitution has said that Congress should have the power to lay duties for revenue, to pay debts and to carry on the government, and therefore there is a limit to the extent that this protection can go, and within that the South can give protection that will be sufficient to enable you to compete with the North. We have got to have a navy, and an army, and we have got to make up that army speedily. It must be a much larger army than we have been accustomed to have in the late Union-it must be large in proportion to the armv that it will have to meet. These things will require a revenue of about 10 per cent, which will yield an aggregate of about $20,000,000, and with this per cent, it would be in the power of Virginia to compete, in a short time, with all the nations of the earth in all the important branches of manufacture. Why? Because manufacturing has now been brought to such perfection by the invention of new machinery. The result will be the immigration of the best men of the North; skilled artizans and men of capital will come here and establish works among you. You have the advantage of longer days and shorter winters, and of being nearer to the raw material of a very important article of manufacture. I have no idea that the duties will be as low as 10 per cent. My own opinion is that we shall have as high duty as is now charged by the General Government at Washington. If that matter is regarded as important by this Convention, why the door is open for negotiation with us. We have but a provisional and temporary government so far. If it be found that Virginia requires more protection than this upon any particular article of manufacture let her come in the spirit of a sister, to our Congress and say, we want more protection upon this or that article, and she will, I have no doubt, receive it. She will be met in the most fraternal and complying spirit.

It seems to me that at least Virginia wanted protectionist tariffs or at least a delegate from Georgia believed that Virginia wanted one. Plus, I believe other Southern states wanted some tariffs on particular items to protect their industry. Didn't the Confederacy impose tariffs on import and export as well?



But Mr. Sulley, isn't a fact that the North imported more and tariffs were mostly collected at Northern ports? Again, I am more than happy to be corrected as a new member and I am still studying the Civil War.

Just one more thing, Mr. Sulley, didn't John C. Calhoun who was himself South Carolinian say that the real cause was slavery in the mist of the Nullification Crisis? If the question over tariffs leads us back to the very question of slavery, wouldn't it be appropriate to say that the cause of the Civil war was slavery rather than tariffs? Thank you in advance.
this is a claim you make..that its a fact that the north imported more......please cite who the "importers of record" were that make you state such a claim....and what they were importing. thanks
 
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Patrick Sulley

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
This is unrealistic.

Example: US imports of textile products tended to consist of more expensive and intricate products (ginghams, etc.) while US manufacturers tended to produce simpler weaves. Since a large part of the population in "the South" were enslaved or "yeoman farmers" who lived in cash-poor barter economies, it seems unlikely that those expensive goods were being sold to "the South" exclusively.

Example: Russia was a large supplier of pig-iron to the US in the 1850s (because they were the low-cost manufacturer). I find it extremely unlikely that Russian pig-iron was being shipped down the coast to "the South" in large quantities.

Example: in 1860, US production and imports of iron products look like this:
  • Production 821,000 tons
  • Imports 395,000 tons
    • Pig Iron 106,000 tons
    • Hammered/Rolled Bar 110,000 tons
    • Railroad Iron 122,000 tons
    • Other 57,000 tons (generally manufactured items like anvils, anchors, tools and machinery)
    • it takes about 1.25 tons of Pig Iron to make 1 ton of bar or railroad iron
I doubt "the South" was the destination of most of those imports. In particular, much of the Railroad Iron was more expensive/higher quality rail and most RR's in "the South" were built with cheaper alternatives.​
I think you are basing much of your argument on things you believe, but probably have not researched heavily. I do not think they are accurate reflections of what was going on in US imports.
This...like the last 6 comments may not get past the moderator but I will try again...the north had industry and needed to import less than the South who had little industry. Naturally even though more people lived in the north they produced a lot of what the South would need to import as it was cheaper to do so. That's why it's called protective tariffs
 
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Patrick Sulley

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
You are not just being way too simple here.

Example: one of the major causes of the Panic of 1857 was the end of the Crimean War in 1856.

During the Crimean War, British and French were devoted to that war. After the war, they were freed up. Britain was the lowest cost/highest quality iron and steel producer. They had excess capacity after the war and, naturally enough, were trying to sell their excess production in the US -- "dumping" in the view of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey manufacturers, driving selling prices down and threatening the existence of American companies. They saw a replay of the situation in the 1830s, where US iron manufacturers were devastated by British competition (destroying much of the Virginia iron industry and blighting the area called The Wilderness, for one) as part of the Panic of 1837.

During the Crimean War, British and French merchantmen were banned from carrying Russian goods by the blockade laws (and the British and French fleets). US merchantmen took over most of that carrying trade. With the end of that British and French merchantmen flooded back into the Russian trade, cutting out US merchantmen. This loss of trade contributed to the massive oversupply of US shipping capacity.

Other things:
The Cailfornia Gold Rush had driven a large expansion of the US money supply in the 1850s. By the mid-1850s, the shipments of new gold were leveling off and beginning to decline. This led to a tightening of credit and less lending (also made western banks look a lot less credit-worthy).

The California Gold Rush drove a massive American ship-building boom. At the same time, the steamship technology was being introduced, creating even more carrying capacity. Suddenly, there were too many ships, way too many ships, and not enough cargo being shipped to keep them busy. New construction was being abandoned, never finished, because there was no chance of getting paid for them. Existing ships were laying idle in port, unable to find work.

In the stock market, the railroad stock bubble burst with a very big bang after July of 1857. In August, the N. H. Wolfe and Company (oldest flour and grain firm in New York ) went belly-up. Then the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company exploded in a fraud scheme (probably the bank you are talking about; Ohio Life seems to have defaulted on about $7 million, but the banks related to them had generally been covered, limiting the damage).

The sinking of the SS Central America with 30,000 pounds of gold in a September hurricane was painful, but things much vaster than that were already at work and had been for more than a year before the ship sank.
this is not what you posted earlier....you said the reason for the collapse was "
The economic disaster (the Panic of 1857) and the financial disasters of the southern-dominated Buchanan Administration (spent the cash in the Treasury, quadrupled the National debt, turned an annual budget surplus into a large annual deficit, fraud and embezzlement in the Department of War, etc.) created an urgent need for more revenue and the Tariff was the biggest, quickest means of getting more money.

"The South" didn't want to pay for what they had presided over. " glad to see that you corrected yourself.
 

Patrick Sulley

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Yes, the "writing on the wall" theory equates to pure speculation. You're talking politics and we're talking economics. There is no economic proof that the Walker tariff would have ignited any controversy from the south, on the contrary, it promoted free trade.
Congress enacted 42 tariff laws between 1789 and 1916. Debates over these bills reflected profound differences in perspectives about the economic interests of various constituents. Members invoked combinations of values—regarding the rights and needs of states, businesses, workers, and consumers—and assertions—such as a proposed tariff’s EXPECTED (EMPHASIS MINE) impacts on those various constituents. Key tensions—between protectionism and free trade, between producers and consumers, between employers and workers—were present decade after decade. Deliberations were complex, passionate, divisive, and lengthy.
 

Patrick Sulley

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
This is unrealistic.

Example: US imports of textile products tended to consist of more expensive and intricate products (ginghams, etc.) while US manufacturers tended to produce simpler weaves. Since a large part of the population in "the South" were enslaved or "yeoman farmers" who lived in cash-poor barter economies, it seems unlikely that those expensive goods were being sold to "the South" exclusively.

Example: Russia was a large supplier of pig-iron to the US in the 1850s (because they were the low-cost manufacturer). I find it extremely unlikely that Russian pig-iron was being shipped down the coast to "the South" in large quantities.

Example: in 1860, US production and imports of iron products look like this:
  • Production 821,000 tons
  • Imports 395,000 tons
    • Pig Iron 106,000 tons
    • Hammered/Rolled Bar 110,000 tons
    • Railroad Iron 122,000 tons
    • Other 57,000 tons (generally manufactured items like anvils, anchors, tools and machinery)
    • it takes about 1.25 tons of Pig Iron to make 1 ton of bar or railroad iron
I doubt "the South" was the destination of most of those imports. In particular, much of the Railroad Iron was more expensive/higher quality rail and most RR's in "the South" were built with cheaper alternatives.​
I think you are basing much of your argument on things you believe, but probably have not researched heavily. I do not think they are accurate reflections of what was going on in US imports.
. "Naturally, the states which were more densely populated, and had already made some progress in manufactures, asked for the greatest amount of protection. Equally natural was it that South Carolina and other thinly settled states, whose products found a ready market in foreign countries, and whose wants were supplied almost entirely by imports, should object to taxes on imports which they did not produce at all.” William Hill, “Protective Purpose of the Tariff Act of 1789,” Journal of Political Economy, v.2, n.1 (December 1893), 54–76. (Quote on 68–69). Tho this refers to the tariff of 1789 the logic behind it is valid for all tariffs
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Location
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the southern ports were not as developed as the northern ports...particularly New York. New York ports were used to import and export items used or sold by most southern industry...are you seriously unaware that the port of choice for the entire USA was New York?

Nope, just as I am not unaware that Southern Industry was more a dream at the time than a working reality.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
you do know the "Port" itself isnt who pays the tariff...right?

Who does pay the tariff at the "Port" then Patrick?

The "where" the tariff is collected is irrelevant.

The "where" doesn't seem to be "irrelevant" when collecting it. Seems like only those deep water ports with the capacity to receive such shipping seems to be very relevant.

When the tariffs are high...they are called "protective tariffs" they were not protecting southern industry.

While I agree there were protective tariffs in the history of the US, we both know this was not the case right before the Civil War. In fact, it has been said at the time the tariff in effect was almost a "free-trade" tariff it was so low. So, again, how does the idea of NOT protecting Southern Industry even enter into this conversation?

Until our next post,
Unionblue
 

John Fenton

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Joined
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retired traveling
John, this meant that most of the products needed in the south could not be manufactured and needed to be shipped south from northern states or imported and shipped down.
I am not playing tit for tat with you and am not citing a source, there are many of them and as you say it is easy enough to google them.
I addressed every one of your points including who got most of the imports. They went west along the Great Lakes and ohio river and to the old northwest. The south had less need of imports and the elite were the main consumers in the south. Most folks hand made those things that they needed right down to sewing needles. If i am wrong , you cite a source.
You simply didn’t read my post.
The south was perfectly content to spend their capital on more slaves and land and let the north have the industry and shipping edge. The simple lack of railroad transportation in the south proves my points. It wasn’t until the large populations in the north and west threatened to overwhelm those of the south , moved into new territories, and created free states thereby threatening the slave empire’s expansion that southern states panicked . The expansion of slavery and continued superiority of whites were the issues any way you slice it, not tariffs. Even if they had managed to get a pro-slavery president elected the death knell of slavery was approaching as demonstrated in the sectional demographics. It was just a matter of time and the southern states that seceded made a false start through panic. The world at large was anti-slave and that pressure would have overcome the south sooner or later.
i have no idea what you are referring to here...racism?
Yes you do. It was racism then as it is now. Only then they used racism as justification for their “peculiar institution”.
Why do we not still talk of the smoot-hawley tariff (the largest ever ) or the import tax on imported beer ?
Because they are minor issues and not a reason for civil war.
Please re-read my previous post. Good-bye
 
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trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
. "Naturally, the states which were more densely populated, and had already made some progress in manufactures, asked for the greatest amount of protection. Equally natural was it that South Carolina and other thinly settled states, whose products found a ready market in foreign countries, and whose wants were supplied almost entirely by imports, should object to taxes on imports which they did not produce at all.” William Hill, “Protective Purpose of the Tariff Act of 1789,” Journal of Political Economy, v.2, n.1 (December 1893), 54–76. (Quote on 68–69). Tho this refers to the tariff of 1789 the logic behind it is valid for all tariffs

Look, all this effort to say, in effect, "the South" was being abused by "the North" is just too one-sided for words. Nowhere, in any of the arguments I have seen from pro-south arguments that secession was about the Tariffs, have I ever seen a single example I can recall that acknowledges all the other issues of tariffs and the many, many benefits that accrued to the country as a whole (including "the South").

Running a government requires money. Particularly after the War of 1812, most of the revenue of the country came from the import tariffs. After they foolishly blew things up with the 1828 Tariff of Abominations, "the South" complained more and more about the "high" tariff -- even as the actual tariff kept going down. When the government is in need of more revenue to reduce the deficit, to pay down the national debt, "the South" is unwilling to even consider voting to increase taxes. They are outrageously selfish in their approach, refusing to sacrifice even a bit for the rest of the country -- or at least they are if the people who present these arguments online are presenting it accurately.

Beyond shear money, there are intangible elements that "the South" never seem to admit. A stronger country safeguards the States within it, provides a much bigger military and diplomatic force than any of the individual States can. A vigorous merchant marine provides many advantages (competition to foreign ships, reducing rates -- and imports on US flag ships received a 10% discount of the tariff). The availability of US manufactured goods would result in lower prices for foreign manufacturers by providing competition. All those "greasy mechanics" and "shopkeepers" in "the North" were providing services and goods that "the South" would need if they didn't have "the North".

Look at railroads: "the South" had as close to nothing in the way of industrial support for their railroad network as could be. They produced no rail, no cars, no locomotives to speak of -- and also lacked the ability to feed the industry that could. Industry after industry was like that.
 

Patrick Sulley

Sergeant
Joined
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Nowhere, in any of the arguments I have seen from pro-south arguments that secession was about the Tariffs,
Maybe you can read the first 15 paragraphs of the secession documents out of South Carolina dated December 22 1860. The first 15 was devoted to explaining why they were leaving and the reason stated...taxes. Since I can't think of another tax they could be talking about...it must have been Tariffs


PARAGRAPH 6 ....
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.
 
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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
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Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
You asserted the claim...the burden does not fall on me to prove you wrong

It wouldn't hurt to post any historic source that refutes one position and supports your own.

Makes for a much more interesting debate and throws the burden of proof back to the other person.

Pretty neat idea, huh? :smile:
 
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