Why wasn't secession about tariffs?

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The debate over the question of tariff vs. slavery as the cause of the war goes on forever.

Let's try a simple test and ask two questions with one of the two issues removed.
Question 1. Would the Civil War have been fought over tariffs alone?
Question 2. Would the Civil War have been fought over Slavery alone?

None of us can ever know what our ancestors would have done in either case because it is a hypothetical situation. That said, I for one would love to know the count of forum voters, just for my own understanding.

I personally believe that both were motivating factors, but that retaining slavery was the primary one and why I had so many cousins killed in the war.
 

unionblue

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The debate over the question of tariff vs. slavery as the cause of the war goes on forever.

Let's try a simple test and ask two questions with one of the two issues removed.
Question 1. Would the Civil War have been fought over tariffs alone?
Question 2. Would the Civil War have been fought over Slavery alone?

None of us can ever know what our ancestors would have done in either case because it is a hypothetical situation. That said, I for one would love to know the count of forum voters, just for my own understanding.

I personally believe that both were motivating factors, but that retaining slavery was the primary one and why I had so many cousins killed in the war.
Well, let's follow the money, as some are wont to say.

Tariffs collected in 1860: about $53 million in 1860 currency.
Slave values in 1860: about $4 BILLION dollars in 1860 currency.

The value of slaves in dollars for 1860 was worth more than all the factories, railroads, banks, gold, and other commodities in all of the United States.

In my own view, slavery was the primary cause and tariffs come in dead last as any source worthy of fighting and dying over.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 
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trice

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Well, let's follow the money, as some are wont to say.

Tariffs collected in 1860: about $53 million in 1860 currency.
Slave values in 1860: about $4 BILLION dollars in 1860 currency.

The value of slaves in dollars for 1860 was worth more than all the factories, railroads, banks, gold, and other commodities in all of the United States.

In my own view, slavery was the primary cause and tariffs come in dead last as any source worthy of fighting and dying over.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
Just for comparison on that $53 million tariff figure, the entire US spending for FY 1860 was about $78 million. The deficit was $13.4 million
 
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wausaubob

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Just for comparison on that $53 million tariff figure, the entire US spending for FY 1860 was about $78 million. The deficit was $13.4 million
If the tariff was $53M, and the south paid half of that on goods distributed from NYC and New Orleans, say $26.5M, that was distributed over 5M white people, and averaged $5.3 per year. But no one envisioned a tariff free world, except a few rich planters who wanted to back to the 17th century, so the actual difference in tariff proposals may have been between $5.3 and $4.7 per year. Unless a person was very rich, or buying railroad equipment, tariffs were not worth risking your life.
 

trice

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You should read South Carolina's Address to the Slaveholding States which was a secession document that was produced by the S. Carolina Convention in December 1860. It discusses the inequity of the federal tariff among other things.
I have read it -- many times -- and I have discussed it with people frequently over the last 20+ years. I have also read the
Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.

That was written and published by the same South Carolina Secession Convention. It declares the reasons they seceded and the only things mentioned come down to slavery, slavery and slavery.

Although this document was written by a committee, the main author was C. G. Memminger. The other members of the committee were F. H. Wardlaw, R. W. Barnwell, J. P. Richardson, B. H. Rutledge, J. E. Jenkins, and P. E. Duncan. This Committee was dedicated to producing this single document. The Declaration was adopted by vote of the Convention on December 24, 1860.

The Convention also approved The Address of the People of South Carolina assembled in Convention, to the People of the Slaveholding States of the United States. This document was also written by a committee, the main author was R. B. Rhett. The other members of the committee were J. A. Calhoun, W. P. Finley, I. D. Wilson, W. F. DeSaussure, L. Cheves, and M. E. Carn. This Committee was dedicated to producing this single document. The Address was adopted by vote of the Convention on December 24, 1860.

The South Carolina Secession Convention made a deliberate decision to write distinct and different documents to do distinct and different things. They made a specific committee to write each one. Yet I constantly find secession advocates trying to claim that the causes for secession are in the Address when the Secession Convention deliberately chose to put them in the Declaration of the Immediate Causes.
 
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Potomac Pride

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I am glad that you have read the Declaration of Immediate Causes. However, maybe you missed my previous post where I discussed the reason that S. Carolina published two separate documents. Some of the delegates believed the Memminger document focused only on relatively recent grievances related to slavery and ignored previous issues such as the Tariff of Abominations. As a result, Rhett authored a second statement which dealt with other issues in addition to slavery that had been a source of conflict for decades. Rhett’s Address of South Carolina to the Slaveholding States is an historical analysis of Northern attempts to dominate the southern states. Historian Emory M. Thomas describes the Address as “an extended dissertation which began with the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and rambled through a long catalogue of sectional issues and crises, demonstrating Southern righteousness and Yankee perfidy at every point.” However, some people do not wish to pay attention to any other secession documents that do not focus on slavery as the only issue of conflict between the north and south.
 
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leftyhunter

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Thank you so much!

I found one mention of duties in the first... And another 33 of slavery. In Georgia's they talk of the duties to pay for the Mexican war in the past and low duties being agreed to (which was what was in place when they broke away). But nowhere do they use that as a cause. In fact that document is unable to go three straight sentences without mentioning the other reason as a cause. It starts and ends with the other as the clear cause.

Thank you for your help. It definitely lends creedence to the fact that while states have had thousands of complaints against the federal government, only one topic was clearly the only one worth rebellion.

Even looking through Virginia's secession convention, of which much was after the morrill tariff, the other topic comes up over 600 times, And the issue of tariffs only 3, only two calling it out in a negative light.

It looks like for every hundred times that other topic gets mentioned, tariffs are brought up and they seem to be brought up only in passing, and nowhere near the same level at any debate. I can find that other topic again and again in those documents called The cornerstone cause, the only cause worth talking about, the one cause, THE cause, the cause for revolution, the only cause they mention "worth preaching for, and if I can, practice, disunion, and civil war over".

I guess it makes sense why the Crittenden compromise, Which not one Southerner voted against, only addressed that one single cause and not tariffs. That one cause was the only one worth acting on. It makes sense why that one cause is the only one they felt worthy of a resolution or proposed amendment. I've found dozens and dozens of proposed amendments, and hundreds of resolutions and there when it comes to the causes worth either I can't find a single one over tariffs. Almost entirely about one other subject.


I mean that would make no sense to never propose a single amendment or compromise about tariffs, mention it at most 1% of the time compared to the other cause, and on the same level as mail delivery, and then come back and say that was somehow the reason for the split.

It clearly looks like there's been a lot of other debates and state legislatures debating their oppossition to taxes, tariffs, and duties where they were much more strongly opposed to those topics than in this situation and none ended in a secession. When you look at the whole of the documents it looks like the "prostitution of the mail" is a more relevant reason in those secession conventions.

Thanks for your help. Someone would really have to take a torch to a LOT of history to then revise it show that tariffs were a cause worthy of rebellion.
In eleven plus years on this forum not one poster who argues that tariffs were the primary cause of the ACW can quantify how much money the average white Southern family paid for tariffs. Remember there was no income or sales tax in the Nineteenth Century other then briefly for Hi income people in the ACW. No poster so far can identify which foreign imports were so vital that it was worth fighting for because of an at the time historically low tariff.
Leftyhunter
 

Potomac Pride

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In eleven plus years on this forum not one poster who argues that tariffs were the primary cause of the ACW can quantify how much money the average white Southern family paid for tariffs. Remember there was no income or sales tax in the Nineteenth Century other then briefly for Hi income people in the ACW. No poster so far can identify which foreign imports were so vital that it was worth fighting for because of an at the time historically low tariff.
Leftyhunter
Tariffs were not the primary cause of the war but they were a source of controversy between the north & south. It would be difficult to measure precisely how much the average family (North or South) paid in tariffs since no statistics were kept at that time on the final destination of dutiable products.

Finally, it really wasn't what imported items were so vital but the very nature of the southern economy. The southern states had a very small manufacturing base so they depended on the importation of goods from overseas or from the northern states for the manufactured items they needed. Therefore, a tariff on imported goods from abroad increases the costs for manufactured items. Furthermore, the southern economy was very dependent on the export of their agricultural goods to other nations. Import tariffs impose an undue burden on export dependent regions such as the southern states. Tariffs cause the price of certain goods to rise but exporters are unable to pass the costs on because they have to sell their items at market prices and swallow the costs. International economists call this the "pass through effect" of a tariff. Finally, tariffs create another burden because foreign producers earn less profit as a result of a tariff that is imposed. As a result, they will have less money to spend on exports in order to balance the decrease in imports. It is for these reasons that the southern states were opposed to protectionist tariffs because of the undue burden it put on their economy.
 
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leftyhunter

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Tariffs were not the primary cause of the war but they were a source of controversy between the north & south. It would be difficult to measure precisely how much the average family (North or South) paid in tariffs since no statistics were kept at that time on the final destination of dutiable products.

Finally, it really wasn't what imported items were so vital but the very nature of the southern economy. The southern states had a very small manufacturing base so they depended on the importation of goods from overseas or from the northern states for the manufactured items they needed. Therefore, a tariff on imported goods from abroad increases the costs for manufactured items. Furthermore, the southern economy was very dependent on the export of their agricultural goods to other nations. Import tariffs impose an undue burden on export dependent regions such as the southern states. Tariffs cause the price of certain goods to rise but exporters are unable to pass the costs on because they have to sell their items at market prices and swallow the costs. International economists call this the "pass through effect" of a tariff. Finally, tariffs create another burden because foreign producers earn less profit as a result of a tariff that is imposed. As a result, they will have less money to spend on exports in order to balance the decrease in imports. It is for these reasons that the southern states were opposed to protectionist tariffs because of the undue burden it put on their economy.
We should keep in mind a few facts about the tariffs. In the Nineteenth Century the federal government could raise revenue by only two means;
1.Sale of public lands
2. The tariff.
There were no income,sales or tax's such has on gasoline.
The federal government had a budget deficit so it needed to pay for expenses such has fighting Indians in Texas somehow.
Also we should note the South was in absolute favor of tariffs to protect their economic interests I.e.
1. Tariffs in foreign sugar to protect Louisiana Sugar Growers.
2. Tariffs in rice to protect South Carolina Rice farmers.
3. Tariffs on foreign tobacco to protect Southern tobacco growers.

Granted statics were not kept on how much families spent on tariffs but there should be some evidence from sources such has newspaper articles or family diaries.
If we know what imported items were so vital to Southern families we could get a rough estimate on just how burdensome tariffs were .
More likely then not the average Southern white family in 1861 payed a miniscule amount of tax's such has the tariffs since there were unlike today no other tax's.
Finally how was the federal government in the Nineteenth Century supposed to raise revenue other then public land sales and the tariffs?
Leftyhunter
 

Potomac Pride

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We should keep in mind a few facts about the tariffs. In the Nineteenth Century the federal government could raise revenue by only two means;
1.Sale of public lands
2. The tariff.
There were no income,sales or tax's such has on gasoline.
The federal government had a budget deficit so it needed to pay for expenses such has fighting Indians in Texas somehow.
Also we should note the South was in absolute favor of tariffs to protect their economic interests I.e.
1. Tariffs in foreign sugar to protect Louisiana Sugar Growers.
2. Tariffs in rice to protect South Carolina Rice farmers.
3. Tariffs on foreign tobacco to protect Southern tobacco growers.

Granted statics were not kept on how much families spent on tariffs but there should be some evidence from sources such has newspaper articles or family diaries.
If we know what imported items were so vital to Southern families we could get a rough estimate on just how burdensome tariffs were .
More likely then not the average Southern white family in 1861 payed a miniscule amount of tax's such has the tariffs since there were unlike today no other tax's.
Finally how was the federal government in the Nineteenth Century supposed to raise revenue other then public land sales and the tariffs?
Leftyhunter
Tariffs were an important issue because they provided over 90% of the revenue for the federal government in 1860. I am not so sure that the southern states only paid a minuscule amount of the tariff. The south had a very small manufacturing base and they depended on the importation of manufactured goods in general from outside the region. In many cases, the south would import the manufactured goods they needed from overseas and would have to pay tariffs on those particular goods.
 

trice

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Tariffs were an important issue because they provided over 90% of the revenue for the federal government in 1860. I am not so sure that the southern states paid a minuscule amount of the tariff. The south had a very small manufacturing base and they depended on the importation of manufactured goods in general from outside the region. In many cases, the south would import the manufactured goods they needed from overseas and would have to pay tariffs on those particular goods.
One of the frustrations of this issue is the absolute lack of support presented by the side of "the South" for these claims about the tariff and the refusal of "the South" to acknowledge the many, many ways in which "the South" benefited from the money generated by the tariff. "The South" complains about the tariff, but proposes no other way to raise revenue and pay for what they get.

For Fiscal Year 1860, here are the figures I found:
  • Revenue
    • $53.2 million from customs duties
    • $2.9 million from other ad valorem taxes/fees/etc. (primarily land sales)
    • $8.5 million from business activities (the Post Office)
  • Spending
    • $29.1 million Defense
      • $27.9 Military (Army, Navy)
      • $1.1 Veterans (no detail found)
    • $45.8 million Other
      • $14.9 million Communications (Post Office)
      • $30.9 million Other (everything else)
      • $3.2 million Interest (on the National Debt)
    • $78 million Total Spending
  • Budget Deficit
    • $13.4 million
  • National Debt
    • $64.8 million
So, exactly how much of that $53 million in tariffs do you think "the South" was paying in 1860? Please break it down or describe somehow what goods they were paying it on.

The Post Office was bleeding money (losing $6.4 million in 1860). How much of that expense should be charged to "the South"?

How much of that $29.1 million Defense spending do you think should be apportioned to "the South"? About 85% of the US Army was stationed West of the Mississippi River -- about 15% in Texas -- to give you a rough starting point. There were major defense installations being built along the Southern coast (like Ft. Sumter). There was a naval yard in New Orleans, a giant base at Pensacola (but the boondoggle naval base at Memphis had been shut by now). There is a general share for all the Army/Navy protecting national interests.

The southern-dominated Buchanan administration had ballooned the National Debt and converted a budget surplus into a 20% budget deficit -- which is how the National Debt got to $64.8 million and the Interest Expense got to $3.2 million. What share of that would you assign to "the South".

When you have calculated those, tell us how "the South" was being wronged. Were they underpaying or overpaying their share, and by how much?
 
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leftyhunter

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Tariffs were an important issue because they provided over 90% of the revenue for the federal government in 1860. I am not so sure that the southern states only paid a minuscule amount of the tariff. The south had a very small manufacturing base and they depended on the importation of manufactured goods in general from outside the region. In many cases, the south would import the manufactured goods they needed from overseas and would have to pay tariffs on those particular goods.
That maybe but we have no idea how much money the average white family paid for tariffs. We have no clue at this point exactly what imported items were so vital to Southern white people.
The federal government at the time was unable deficit and was financially hard pressed to have an adequate military presence in Texas to protect white settler's.
As I mentioned the South was very pro tariff to protect their agricultural interests.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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One of the frustrations of this issue is the absolute lack of support presented by the side of "the South" for these claims about the tariff and the refusal of "the South" to acknowledge the many, many ways in which "the South" benefited from the money generated by the tariff. "The South" complains about the tariff, but proposes no other way to raise revenue and pay for what they get.

For Fiscal Year 1860, here are the figures I found:
  • Revenue
    • $53.2 million from customs duties
    • $2.9 million from other ad valorem taxes/fees/etc. (primarily land sales)
    • $8.5 million from business activities (the Post Office)
  • Spending
    • $29.1 million Defense
      • $27.9 Military (Army, Navy)
      • $1.1 Veterans (no detail found)
    • $45.8 million Other
      • $14.9 million Communications (Post Office)
      • $30.9 million Other (everything else)
      • $3.2 million Interest (on the National Debt)
    • $78 million Total Spending
  • Budget Deficit
    • $13.4 million
  • National Debt
    • $64.8 million
So, exactly how much of that $53 million in tariffs do you think "the South" was paying in 1860? Please break it down or describe somehow what goods they were paying it on.

The Post Office was bleeding money (losing $6.4 million in 1860). How much of that expense should be charged to "the South"?

How much of that $29.1 million Defense spending do you think should be apportioned to "the South"? About 85% of the US Army was stationed West of the Mississippi River -- about 15% in Texas -- to give you a rough starting point. There were major defense installations being built along the Southern coast (like Ft. Sumter). There was a naval yard in New Orleans, a giant base at Pensacola (but the boondoggle naval base at Memphis had been shut by now). There is a general share for all the Army/Navy protecting national interests.

The southern-dominated Buchanan administration had ballooned the National Debt and converted a budget surplus into a 20% budget deficit -- which is how the National Debt got to $64.8 million and the Interest Expense got to $3.2 million. What share of that would you assign to "the South".

When you have calculated those, tell us how "the South" was being wronged. Were they underpaying or overpaying their share, and by how much?
Excellent post outstanding research!
Leftyhunter
 

Potomac Pride

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One of the frustrations of this issue is the absolute lack of support presented by the side of "the South" for these claims about the tariff and the refusal of "the South" to acknowledge the many, many ways in which "the South" benefited from the money generated by the tariff. "The South" complains about the tariff, but proposes no other way to raise revenue and pay for what they get.

For Fiscal Year 1860, here are the figures I found:
  • Revenue
    • $53.2 million from customs duties
    • $2.9 million from other ad valorem taxes/fees/etc. (primarily land sales)
    • $8.5 million from business activities (the Post Office)
  • Spending
    • $29.1 million Defense
      • $27.9 Military (Army, Navy)
      • $1.1 Veterans (no detail found)
    • $45.8 million Other
      • $14.9 million Communications (Post Office)
      • $30.9 million Other (everything else)
      • $3.2 million Interest (on the National Debt)
    • $78 million Total Spending
  • Budget Deficit
    • $13.4 million
  • National Debt
    • $64.8 million
So, exactly how much of that $53 million in tariffs do you think "the South" was paying in 1860? Please break it down or describe somehow what goods they were paying it on.

The Post Office was bleeding money (losing $6.4 million in 1860). How much of that expense should be charged to "the South"?

How much of that $29.1 million Defense spending do you think should be apportioned to "the South"? About 85% of the US Army was stationed West of the Mississippi River -- about 15% in Texas -- to give you a rough starting point. There were major defense installations being built along the Southern coast (like Ft. Sumter). There was a naval yard in New Orleans, a giant base at Pensacola (but the boondoggle naval base at Memphis had been shut by now). There is a general share for all the Army/Navy protecting national interests.

The southern-dominated Buchanan administration had ballooned the National Debt and converted a budget surplus into a 20% budget deficit -- which is how the National Debt got to $64.8 million and the Interest Expense got to $3.2 million. What share of that would you assign to "the South".

When you have calculated those, tell us how "the South" was being wronged. Were they underpaying or overpaying their share, and by how much?
Thanks for your comments and the detailed explanation of the budget. The noted historian James McPherson once estimated that the southern states paid approximately 30 percent of the federal tariff in 1860. However, he admitted that this was just a guess because there was no way to precisely measure this since no statistics were kept on the final destination of dutiable products at that time. However, if you would like to come up with some estimates I am sure that everyone would appreciate it.
 
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trice

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Thanks for your comments and the detailed explanation of the budget. The noted historian James McPherson once estimated that the southern states paid approximately 30 percent of the federal tariff in 1860. However, he admitted that this was just a guess because there was no way to precisely measure this since no statistics were kept on the final destination of dutiable products at that time. However, if you would like to come up with some estimates I am sure that everyone would appreciate it.
Once again, deafening silence on the side of "the South" and the evasion policy of answering a question by suggesting someone else do the work.

No one doubts that there were those in "the South" who ***claimed*** that the Tariff was a cause for secession. No one making this ***claim*** ever wants to provide ***any*** supporting evidence for what they claim.

How much of the tariff did "the South" pay? No one knows, but "the South" insists it was paying too much.

How much of the tariff should "the South" have been paying? We can't get a clear answer or even a reasonable guess from "the South", but "the South" insists it was paying too much.

What benefits did "the South" get in return and what were they worth? No one from "the South" side ever wants to talk about ***that***.

None of that is a personal attack on you, BTW. It is just a general truth about everyone I can recall who wants to argue that "the South" was being abused on tariffs.

FWIW, my personal view is that "the South" simply didn't want to pay anything, but did want their share of Federal spending and all the benefits they got from having a strong Northern merchant marine doing most of the work of international trade. They were also perfectly willing to have a tariff on sugar (which made tons of money for Louisiana planters) or rice (South Carolina planters) or anything else that benefited them.
 

Potomac Pride

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Once again, deafening silence on the side of "the South" and the evasion policy of answering a question by suggesting someone else do the work.

No one doubts that there were those in "the South" who ***claimed*** that the Tariff was a cause for secession. No one making this ***claim*** ever wants to provide ***any*** supporting evidence for what they claim.

How much of the tariff did "the South" pay? No one knows, but "the South" insists it was paying too much.

How much of the tariff should "the South" have been paying? We can't get a clear answer or even a reasonable guess from "the South", but "the South" insists it was paying too much.

What benefits did "the South" get in return and what were they worth? No one from "the South" side ever wants to talk about ***that***.

None of that is a personal attack on you, BTW. It is just a general truth about everyone I can recall who wants to argue that "the South" was being abused on tariffs.

FWIW, my personal view is that "the South" simply didn't want to pay anything, but did want their share of Federal spending and all the benefits they got from having a strong Northern merchant marine doing most of the work of international trade. They were also perfectly willing to have a tariff on sugar (which made tons of money for Louisiana planters) or rice (South Carolina planters) or anything else that benefited them.
The federal tariff had been a source of controversy for decades even before the Civil War. The “Tariff of Abominations” that was passed in 1828 was opposed by the southern states because of the effects it had on their economy. This tariff bill increased duties on imported goods and even raw materials considerably. The manufacturing based economy in the northern part of the USA was suffering from competition due to low-priced imported goods from Europe. The major goal of the tariff was to protect the North's industries by taxing goods from Europe. The southern states believed they were harmed directly by having to pay higher prices for goods imported from Europe. In addition, the South was also harmed because reducing the importation of British goods into the U.S. would make it difficult for the British to pay for the cotton they purchased from the South. The opposition to the tariff in the south led to the Nullification Crisis in South Carolina.

Before the Civil War began, there were certain publications in the northern states that even admitted that the tariff was a method used to exploit the South to the benefit of the North. Thomas P. Kettell was a political economist and author from Boston who in 1856 wrote Southern Wealth and Northern Profits. This book was about the economies of the Northern and Southern states that presented the economic inequality resulting from the concentration of manufacturing, banking, and shipping in the North. In his book, he discussed the tariff system and stated "From the earliest period of the government, the federal revenues have been derived from duties on goods imported. The duties have not been levied with a single view to revenue, but have been adjusted as to afford the largest protection to Northern manufacturers. In other words, to tax consumers of goods West and South for the support of eastern manufacturers."

Furthermore, the Chicago Daily Times in an article on Dec. 10, 1860 admitted that the tariff was a financial burden to the southern states that was used to the advantage of the North. The article stated "The South has furnished near three-fourths of the entire exports of the country. Last year, she furnished seventy-two percent of the whole....... we have a tariff that protects our manufacturers from thirty to fifty percent, and enables us to consume large quantities of Southern cotton, and to compete in our whole home market with the skilled labor of Europe. This operates to compel the South to pay an indirect bounty to our skilled labor, of millions annually."
 

leftyhunter

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The federal tariff had been a source of controversy for decades even before the Civil War. The “Tariff of Abominations” that was passed in 1828 was opposed by the southern states because of the effects it had on their economy. This tariff bill increased duties on imported goods and even raw materials considerably. The manufacturing based economy in the northern part of the USA was suffering from competition due to low-priced imported goods from Europe. The major goal of the tariff was to protect the North's industries by taxing goods from Europe. The southern states believed they were harmed directly by having to pay higher prices for goods imported from Europe. In addition, the South was also harmed because reducing the importation of British goods into the U.S. would make it difficult for the British to pay for the cotton they purchased from the South. The opposition to the tariff in the south led to the Nullification Crisis in South Carolina.

Before the Civil War began, there were certain publications in the northern states that even admitted that the tariff was a method used to exploit the South to the benefit of the North. Thomas P. Kettell was a political economist and author from Boston who in 1856 wrote Southern Wealth and Northern Profits. This book was about the economies of the Northern and Southern states that presented the economic inequality resulting from the concentration of manufacturing, banking, and shipping in the North. In his book, he discussed the tariff system and stated "From the earliest period of the government, the federal revenues have been derived from duties on goods imported. The duties have not been levied with a single view to revenue, but have been adjusted as to afford the largest protection to Northern manufacturers. In other words, to tax consumers of goods West and South for the support of eastern manufacturers."

Furthermore, the Chicago Daily Times in an article on Dec. 10, 1860 admitted that the tariff was a financial burden to the southern states that was used to the advantage of the North. The article stated "The South has furnished near three-fourths of the entire exports of the country. Last year, she furnished seventy-two percent of the whole....... we have a tariff that protects our manufacturers from thirty to fifty percent, and enables us to consume large quantities of Southern cotton, and to compete in our whole home market with the skilled labor of Europe. This operates to compel the South to pay an indirect bounty to our skilled labor, of millions annually."
We still don't know what percentage of Southern families actually paid tariffs, we don't know what percentage of their income was spent on tariffs. We have no idea what imported items were so vital to the average Southern white family that it was well worth sending their sons and husband's to fight and die over.
Leftyhunter
 
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trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Messages
11,864
Once again, deafening silence on the side of "the South" and the evasion policy of answering a question by suggesting someone else do the work.

No one doubts that there were those in "the South" who ***claimed*** that the Tariff was a cause for secession. No one making this ***claim*** ever wants to provide ***any*** supporting evidence for what they claim.

How much of the tariff did "the South" pay? No one knows, but "the South" insists it was paying too much.

How much of the tariff should "the South" have been paying? We can't get a clear answer or even a reasonable guess from "the South", but "the South" insists it was paying too much.

What benefits did "the South" get in return and what were they worth? No one from "the South" side ever wants to talk about ***that***.

None of that is a personal attack on you, BTW. It is just a general truth about everyone I can recall who wants to argue that "the South" was being abused on tariffs.

FWIW, my personal view is that "the South" simply didn't want to pay anything, but did want their share of Federal spending and all the benefits they got from having a strong Northern merchant marine doing most of the work of international trade. They were also perfectly willing to have a tariff on sugar (which made tons of money for Louisiana planters) or rice (South Carolina planters) or anything else that benefited them.
The federal tariff had been a source of controversy for decades even before the Civil War. The “Tariff of Abominations” that was passed in 1828 was opposed by the southern states because of the effects it had on their economy. This tariff bill increased duties on imported goods and even raw materials considerably. The manufacturing based economy in the northern part of the USA was suffering from competition due to low-priced imported goods from Europe. The major goal of the tariff was to protect the North's industries by taxing goods from Europe. The southern states believed they were harmed directly by having to pay higher prices for goods imported from Europe. In addition, the South was also harmed because reducing the importation of British goods into the U.S. would make it difficult for the British to pay for the cotton they purchased from the South. The opposition to the tariff in the south led to the Nullification Crisis in South Carolina.

Before the Civil War began, there were certain publications in the northern states that even admitted that the tariff was a method used to exploit the South to the benefit of the North. Thomas P. Kettell was a political economist and author from Boston who in 1856 wrote Southern Wealth and Northern Profits. This book was about the economies of the Northern and Southern states that presented the economic inequality resulting from the concentration of manufacturing, banking, and shipping in the North. In his book, he discussed the tariff system and stated "From the earliest period of the government, the federal revenues have been derived from duties on goods imported. The duties have not been levied with a single view to revenue, but have been adjusted as to afford the largest protection to Northern manufacturers. In other words, to tax consumers of goods West and South for the support of eastern manufacturers."

Furthermore, the Chicago Daily Times in an article on Dec. 10, 1860 admitted that the tariff was a financial burden to the southern states that was used to the advantage of the North. The article stated "The South has furnished near three-fourths of the entire exports of the country. Last year, she furnished seventy-two percent of the whole....... we have a tariff that protects our manufacturers from thirty to fifty percent, and enables us to consume large quantities of Southern cotton, and to compete in our whole home market with the skilled labor of Europe. This operates to compel the South to pay an indirect bounty to our skilled labor, of millions annually."
As I said:
No one doubts that there were those in "the South" who ***claimed*** that the Tariff was a cause for secession. No one making this ***claim*** ever wants to provide ***any*** supporting evidence for what they claim.​
If the point is that you can also find those in "the North" who ***claimed*** that the South" was paying more than their "share" -- sure thing, you can find some if you look for them.

The problem that causes all the frustration with the ***claim*** is that no one ever supplies any real, verifiable data to show that those making this ***claim*** are anywhere near the truth in their ***claim***.

What, exactly, were all those people in "the South" importing that they were paying tariffs on? How much were they paying? Which people were actually paying all those tariffs? (Only rich planters? Yeoman farmers? Slaves?) Were there planters or manufacturers in "the South" who were benefiting from those tariffs?

Example:
  • After 1848, Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond was the owned by Joseph R. Anderson. (This is the Brigadier General J. R. Anderson under A. P. Hill at Mechanicsville, Gaines Mill and Glendale.)
  • He was a Whig who strongly favored internal improvements and a protective tariff while serving in the Virginia General Assembly in the 1850s.
  • He wanted Virginia to pass a protective tariff to protect Tredegar from northern and foreign competitors in the 1850s. Virginia RRs opposed him, since they would have been paying more for their purchases if anyone would be silly enough to pass the law. Such a state law is almost certainly going to be struck down in Federal court anyway.
  • Anderson is probably the biggest industrialist in "the South" (at least in the part that seceded; not sure how big Du Pont in Delaware was then). Other industrialists of "the South" shared his desire for a protective tariff.
  • Anderson was also a strong supporter of a protective tariff when the Confederacy formed.
  • Clearly, Anderson did not share in the desire for an ever-lower "free-trade" tariff -- but 20 years in politics had taught him he needed to play both sides to keep his company profitable. In 1860, seeing all the secession talk, he played up a "Buy Southern" sales strategy while also courting his northern contracts and scrambling to get loans.
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Messages
1,760
Location
Georgia
What, exactly, were all those people in "the South" importing that they were paying tariffs on? How much were they paying? Which people were actually paying all those tariffs? (Only rich planters? Yeoman farmers? Slaves?) Were there planters or manufacturers in "the South" who were benefiting from those tariffs?

Example:
  • After 1848, Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond was the owned by Joseph R. Anderson. (This is the Brigadier General J. R. Anderson under A. P. Hill at Mechanicsville, Gaines Mill and Glendale.)
  • He was a Whig who strongly favored internal improvements and a protective tariff while serving in the Virginia General Assembly in the 1850s.
  • He wanted Virginia to pass a protective tariff to protect Tredegar from northern and foreign competitors in the 1850s. Virginia RRs opposed him, since they would have been paying more for their purchases if anyone would be silly enough to pass the law. Such a state law is almost certainly going to be struck down in Federal court anyway.
  • Anderson is probably the biggest industrialist in "the South" (at least in the part that seceded; not sure how big Du Pont in Delaware was then). Other industrialists of "the South" shared his desire for a protective tariff.
  • Anderson was also a strong supporter of a protective tariff when the Confederacy formed.
  • Clearly, Anderson did not share in the desire for an ever-lower "free-trade" tariff -- but 20 years in politics had taught him he needed to play both sides to keep his company profitable. In 1860, seeing all the secession talk, he played up a "Buy Southern" sales strategy while also courting his northern contracts and scrambling to get loans.
Wow, you sure do ask a lot of questions! J.R. Anderson may have wanted protective tariffs but unfortunately the Confederate Government outlawed such tariffs in their Constitution. The CSA were free trade advocates and opposed protectionism. The southern states had borne heavy costs before the Civil War from tariffs that protected northern manufacturing at their expense. The southern economy depended on the exportation of agricultural commodities and imported almost all the goods it consumed, either from abroad or from Northern states. Tariffs drastically raised the cost of goods in the Southern states.
 
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