Why wasn't secession about tariffs?

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lurid

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The description of the tariff is based on principles of economics that are accepted by international trade economists. The book that I mentioned, International Economics, has even been used as a college textbook. In my other posts, I provided original sources from the period that discussed the inequity of the federal tariff system. As the historical evidence shows, the federal tariff had been a source of controversy in the south years before the Civil War even began. For instance, the Tariff of Abominations in 1828 was vehemently opposed by the southern states and eventually led to the Nullification Crisis in S. Carolina.
Yes, but historical evidence shows that it was not a source of controversy the three decades prior to the CW. You need to adjust your timetable.
 

Horrido67

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Thanks for your comments but you don't have to call me Mister. The CSA outlawed protective tariffs in their Constitution which prohibited "any duties or taxes on importation from foreign nations be laid to promote or foster any branch of industry." There are two types of tariffs which are the revenue and the protective tariff. The revenue tariff is a tax on imported goods to raise government revenue and a protective tariff is used to restrict foreign imports. The plantation owners considered themselves to be better off under the CSA because they were free trade advocates. The renowned historian Kenneth Stampp wrote "A low tariff was to be the Confederacy's chief device for emancipating its planters and merchants from northern exploitation. And the tariff therefore became the challenge which, more than anything else, crystallized sentiment among Yankee businessmen in favor of applying force against the South." Source: And the War Came: The North and the Secession Crisis, 1860-1861, page 231 by Kenneth Stampp. The late Professor Stampp wrote numerous books and articles on the Civil War. He also received the Lincoln Prize and the American Historical Association's Award for Scholarly Distinction for his lifetime contributions to Civil War studies.
I really appreciate your well-sourced reply. Thank you very much. That clarified many things.
 

trice

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From an economic standpoint tariffs were never a concern, no matter what anyone claims. Tariffs were at an all-time low the 3 decades prior to the CW, so how can anyone claim tariffs were a concern?

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The Tariff of 1857 was passed by the Southern-dominated Buchanan administration after the Election of 1856. It was the lowest tariff yet, exactly as low as "the South" had wanted (as the Fire-Eater leader Rhett knew and admitted in December of 1860 at the South Carolina Secession Convention). The Tariff of 1857 was the brainchild of Senator R. M. T. ("Run Mad Tom") Hunter of Virginia.

Unfortunately, the Buchanan Administration presided over an economic disaster. They arrived in office with a pile of money in the Treasury, an annual budget surplus, and a declining National Debt. They didn't think the government should have money, so they spent the cash. The new Tariff of 1857 went into effect just as the boom of the 1850s went bust. Between the lower rates and the Panic of 1857, government revenue declined while the Buchanan Administration spending increased. The budget surplus turned into a huge budget deficit. The National Debt mushroomed. Banks began demanding higher interest rates on government loans. To top this all off, a major embezzlement scandal involving Secretary of War John B. Floyd and funds from the War Department and stolen bonds from the Treasury Department was hitting the light of day in late 1860.

That was when the 1st Morrill Tariff was proposed and passed the House in 1860; Senator Hunter blocked it in the Senate, making it an Election issue for 1860. "The North" (as in "the rest of the country") generally felt the Tariff of 1857 was too low and was allowing US industries to be hurt (particularly iron and steel). "The South" was opposed to any increase at all from the historially low rates of the Tariff of 1857. They made no effort to propose any way at all to deal with the booming National Debt, the large budget deficit or the empty Treasury. Essentially, they were for "the South" ahead of the Country.

That, in a nutshell, is what the Tariff issue in secession is: one section putting their own desire above the interests of the country as a whole and refusing to compromise with the rest of the country. In a way, it is exactly the same as the position of "the South" on slavery, where slavery must triumph over any interest the people of other non-slave states might have.
 
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lurid

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The Tariff of 1857 was passed by the Southern-dominated Buchanan administration after the Election of 1856. It was the lowest tariff yet, exactly as low as "the South" had wanted (as the Fire-Eater leader Rhett knew and admitted in December of 1860 at the South Carolina Secession Convention). The Tariff of 1857 was the brainchild of Senator R. M. T. ("Run Mad Tom") Hunter of Virginia.

Unfortunately, the Buchanan Administration presided over an economic disaster. They arrived in office with a pile of money in the Treasury, an annual budget surplus, and a declining National Debt. They didn't think the government should have money, so they spent the cash. The new Tariff of 1857 went into effect just as the boom of the 1850s went bust. Between the lower rates and the Panic of 1857, government revenue declined while the Buchanan Administration spending increased. The budget surplus turned into a huge budget deficit. The National Debt mushroomed. Banks began demanding higher interest rates on government loans. To top this all off, a major embezzlement scandal involving Secretary of War John B. Floyd and funds from the War Department and stolen bonds from the Treasury Department was hitting the light of day in late 1860.

That was when the 1st Morrill Tariff was proposed and passed the House in 1860; Senator Hunter blocked it in the Senate, making it an Election issue for 1860. "The North" (as in "the rest of the country") generally felt the Tariff of 1857 was too low and was allowing US industries to be hurt (particularly iron and steel). "The South" was opposed to any increase at all from the historially low rates of the Tariff of 1857. They made no effort to propose any way at all to deal with the booming National Debt, the large budget deficit or the empty Treasury. Essentially, they were for "the South" ahead of the Country.

That, in a nutshell, is what the Tariff issue in secession is: one section putting their own desire above the interests of the country as a whole and refusing to compromise with the rest of the country. In a way, it is exactly the same as the position of "the South" on slavery, where slavery must triumph over any interest the people of other non-slave states might have.
I get it. My point is that southerners had no gripe whatsoever over tariffs. Thanks for expounding.
 

trice

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I get it. My point is that southerners had no gripe whatsoever over tariffs. Thanks for expounding.
Yes. Disputes over tariffs are normal. There will always be people pulling for their own interests over the interests of others. What is abnormal is the absolute refusal to even consider compromise we saw in the run up to the Civil War after a 30 year run of lowering tariffs.
 

Potomac Pride

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Yes, but historical evidence shows that it was not a source of controversy the three decades prior to the CW. You need to adjust your timetable.
The federal tariff was a source of controversy shortly before the Civil War. The Republican Party platform of 1860 contained an important plank to protect domestic industry from foreign competition. In the Presidential election of 1860, the passage of a new tariff bill to protect northern manufacturers was a key campaign pledge by Lincoln. The Morrill Tariff had passed the House of Rep. in 1860 and it was vehemently opposed by the southern states. In fact, Senator Robert Toombs of Georgia called it "the most atrocious tariff bill that ever was enacted, raising the present duties from twenty to two hundred and fifty per cent above the existing rates of duty." The tariff was an important issue in the election of 1860 and a major source of controversy.
 
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trice

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The federal tariff was a source of controversy shortly before the Civil War. The Republican Party platform of 1860 contained an important plank to protect domestic industry from foreign competition. In the Presidential election of 1860, the passage of a new tariff bill to protect northern manufacturers was a key campaign pledge by Lincoln. The Morrill Tariff had passed the House of Rep. in 1860 and it was vehemently opposed by the southern states. In fact, Senator Robert Toombs of Georgia called it "the most atrocious tariff bill that ever was enacted, raising the present duties from twenty to two hundred and fifty per cent above the existing rates of duty." The tariff was an important issue in the election of 1860 and a major source of controversy.
So: what was "the South" proposing as a means of raising new revenue to deal with the very serious financial position of the national government? If they don't want to raise the tariff, where do they propose to raise new revenue? Were they proposing an income tax? Were they proposing a property tax? What is it they were proposing to deal with the problem?
 

Potomac Pride

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So: what was "the South" proposing as a means of raising new revenue to deal with the very serious financial position of the national government? If they don't want to raise the tariff, where do they propose to raise new revenue? Were they proposing an income tax? Were they proposing a property tax? What is it they were proposing to deal with the problem?
Wow, you sure do ask a lot of questions. I am unsure about the other sources of generating revenue that may have been discussed in Congress in 1860. The topic of this thread concerns the tariff and not alternative funding sources such as an income tax, property tax or a national lottery but thanks for your comments anyway.
 

trice

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Wow, you sure do ask a lot of questions. I am unsure about the other sources of generating revenue that may have been discussed in Congress in 1860. The topic of this thread concerns the tariff and not alternative funding sources such as an income tax, property tax or a national lottery but thanks for your comments anyway.
I ask the questions because no one on the side of "the South" ever wants to answer them. The problem in 1860 is that a southern-dominated government has presided over a 4-year economic disaster while spending heavily and cutting revenue. If "the South" wants to maintain the historically very low Tariff of 1857, it needs to provide a means of raising money and paying down the debt to fix the problem. This is the big issue with the tariff in 1860 -- and one you apparently would prefer to sweep under the rug.
 
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Potomac Pride

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I ask the questions because no one on the side of "the South" ever wants to answer them. The problem in 1860 is that a southern-dominated government has presided over a 4-year economic disaster while spending heavily and cutting revenue. If "the South" wants to maintain the historically very low Tariff of 1857, it needs to provide a means of raising money and paying down the debt to fix the problem. This is the big issue with the tariff in 1860 -- and one you apparently would prefer to sweep under the rug.
The economic problems before the Civil War were really caused by the Panic of 1857 which was a global economic crisis. Tariffs were the main instrument for raising government revenue at that time. However, the Morrill Tariff was a highly protectionist tariff bill that was passed to help promote northern industry and not just to raise revenue.
 

unionblue

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The economic problems before the Civil War were really caused by the Panic of 1857 which was a global economic crisis. Tariffs were the main instrument for raising government revenue at that time. However, the Morrill Tariff was a highly protectionist tariff bill that was passed to help promote northern industry and not just to raise revenue.
Not really an answer to the questions raised in post #87 above.
 
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trice

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The economic problems before the Civil War were really caused by the Panic of 1857 which was a global economic crisis. Tariffs were the main instrument for raising government revenue at that time. However, the Morrill Tariff was a highly protectionist tariff bill that was passed to help promote northern industry and not just to raise revenue.
So you understand that the country was in a deep financial crisis and needed additional revenue, which primarily came from the Tariff. The Tariff had been lowered in 1857 -- just as the crisis hit. The rest of the country wanted to raise the tariff primarily to get new revenue. "The South" adamantly refused to increase the Tariff. You understand all of this.

Now: what did "the South" propose to do to raise the needed revenue? Anything? Nothing? Are you saying they were willing to let the country go bankrupt to avoid raising the Tariff?
 

trice

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Oh, excuse me. Are you the new moderator now? Please read my answer in post #88.
Your post #88 appears to be an attempt to avoid discussing the real issues facing the country at the time that are intricately involved with the Tariff. Declaring that they cannot be talked about is simple stonewalling.
 
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Potomac Pride

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So you understand that the country was in a deep financial crisis and needed additional revenue, which primarily came from the Tariff. The Tariff had been lowered in 1857 -- just as the crisis hit. The rest of the country wanted to raise the tariff primarily to get new revenue. "The South" adamantly refused to increase the Tariff. You understand all of this.

Now: what did "the South" propose to do to raise the needed revenue? Anything? Nothing? Are you saying they were willing to let the country go bankrupt to avoid raising the Tariff?
Wow, as I said before, you sure do ask a lot of questions. If you are so interested in the budget deficit before the Civil War, why don't you start a separate thread on the issue? I usually don't respond to rude posters.
 
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Potomac Pride

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Your post #88 appears to be an attempt to avoid discussing the real issues facing the country at the time that are inticately involved with the Tariff. Declaring that they cannot be talked about is simple stonewalling.
Sorry, but I wasn't trying to stonewall you. However from now on, I think that I will just ignore you.
 

unionblue

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Wow, as I said before, you sure do ask a lot of questions. If you are so interested in the budget deficit before the Civil War, why don't you start a separate thread on the issue? I usually don't respond to rude posters.
Rude = curious = rude?

A direct answer to @trice questions would not be considered rude, but enlightening and somewhat educational, if answered.

In my own, non moderator, humble opinion.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 
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trice

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Wow, as I said before, you sure do ask a lot of questions. If you are so interested in the budget deficit before the Civil War, why don't you start a separate thread on the issue? I usually don't respond to rude posters.
You seem to like not responding to serious questions. It is impossible to discuss tariffs realistically outside of the framework of the government financial situation -- yet everyone who takes the position of "the South" on the Tariff issue seems to want to avoid all factual discussions like the plague.
 

Potomac Pride

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You seem to like not responding to serious questions. It is impossible to discuss tariffs realistically outside of the framework of the government financial situation -- yet everyone who takes the position of "the South" on the Tariff issue seems to want to avoid all factual discussions like the plague.
I already responded to your question in post #88. I'm sorry if my answer doesn't satisfy you but please don't keep repeating the same thing.
 
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