South Carolina before the war between the states was paying a significant part of the federal budget, far more than say Massachusettes, in excise taxes. This caused those in South Carolina to begin a secession movement as early as 1835 in its legislature. This was not a slavery issue, rather, the northern states getting a free ride on the back of the southern coastal states to which they dictated tax policy. The south was not industrialized and was never going to be due at the time to power and raw materials issues. Lastly, Britain long earlier, circa 1810, had outlawed the slave trade and slavery in 1833 so they had little vested interest in supporting a slave based economy, their interest in supporting the south had to do with regaining control of the industrializing US. Any view of history beyond that is revisionist at best IMO.
In the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 the imports and tariff taxes in the United States plummeted and the Congress in 1812 brought back the excise tax on whiskey to partially compensate for the loss of customs/tariff revenue. Within a few years customs duties brought in enough federal income to again abolish nearly all federal taxes except tariffs. When the United States public debt was finally paid off in 1834 President Andrew Jackson zeroed out the excise taxes and reduced the customs duties (tariffs) in half.
Excise taxes stayed essentially zero till the American Civil War brought a need for much more federal revenue.
The NYT, stirring the chaldron of liberal swill.
You make some great points, but as in all things historical, there are many complications. The tax (mostly via tariffs) problem was of course rooted in the constitutional compromise that allowed slavery and counted slaves at 3/5 their numbers for apportionment of both taxes and representation. Without this SC would not have enterred the union in the first place, and the South would not have enjoyed a near lock on the early Presidencies. Not hard to understand SC’s dissatisfaction when northerners began to press for abolition almost immediately after ratification, and the tariff rates continued to rise, protecting northern industrialists at southern expense, bleeding the south of hard money (leaving its capital bound up in land and slaves, discouraging industrial investment, and inceasing dependency on Northern finance).
Britain did have a major vested interest and role in the expansion of slavery in the US, through creating a market for cotton, the milling of which was a prime element driving Britain’s industrial revolution. SC’s dedication to expanding slavery into the West was driven to a great extent by slaveholders’ desire to relocate or sell their large surplus of slaves into areas with soils not yet exhausted by tobacco and cotton. Such export became profitable because of British demand for cotton. British interest in the Southern cause diminished due to an economic downturn, a large backstock of cotton, and alternative sourcing, right at the time the Confederacy was seeking support.
Excise was minimal.
The US did not have an excise taxes in 1835 or in 1860. Even the Whiskey tax was long gone.
Exactly. The North already had an economic leg up on the south in that most industry was located there, so why did they need an added political gift of what amounted to subsidies, called tariffs?