Skip to comments.The Truth About Tariffs (James McPherson on civil war tariffs)
Posted on 01/31/2004 11:18:21 AM PST by GOPcapitalist
DILORENZO IS ESSENTIALLY CORRECT that the tariff supplied ninety percent of federal revenue before the Civil War. For the thirty years from 1831 to 1860 it was eighty-four percent, but for the 1850s as a decade it was indeed ninety percent.
But the idea that the South paid about seventy-five percent of tariff revenues is totally absurd. DiLorenzo bases this on pages 26-27 of Charles Adams, When in the Course of Human Events, but Adams comes up with these figures out of thin air, and worse, appears to be measuring the South's share of exports, and then transposing that percentage to their share of dutiable imports. Exports, of course, are not subject to taxation and never have been, because such taxes are prohibited by Article I, Section 9 of the US Constitution -- which Adams appears not to know. In any case, Adams claims that about eighty-two percent of exports from the U.S. were furnished by the South -- he cites no source for this, and it is in fact wrong -- the true figure was about sixty percent on the average, most of that cotton -- and then by a slight of hand claims that this proves the South paid a similarly disproportionate share of tariffs. But of course the tariffs were only on imports.
The idea that the South would pay a disproportionate share of import duties defies common sense as well as facts. The majority of imports from abroad entered ports in the Northeastern US, principally New York City. The importers paid duties at the customs houses in those cities. The free states had sixty-two percent of the US population in the 1850s and seventy-two percent of the free population. The standard of living was higher in the free states and the people of those states consumed more than their proportionate share of dutiable products, so a high proportion of tariff revenue (on both consumer and capital goods) was paid ultimately by the people of those states -- a fair guess would be that the North paid about seventy percent of tariff duties. There is no way to measure this precisely, for once the duties were paid no statis tics were kept on the final destination of dutiable products. But consider a few examples. There was a tariff on sugar, which benefited only sugar planters in Louisiana, but seventy percent of the sugar was consumed in the free states. There was a tariff on hemp, which benefited only the growers in Kentucky and Missouri, but the shipbuilding industry was almost entirely in the North, so Northern users of hemp paid a disproportionate amount of that tariff. There were duties on both raw wool and finished wool cloth, which of course benefited sheep farmers who were mostly in the North and woolen textile manufacturers who were almost entirely in the North, but it was Northern consumers who ultimately paid probably eighty percent of that tariff (woolen clothes were worn more in the North than the South, for obvious rea sons). Or take the tariff on iron -- it benefited mainly Northern manufacturers (though there was an iron indus try in the South as well), but sixty-five percent of the railroad mileage and seventy-five percent of the railroad rolling stock were in the North, which meant that Northern railroads (and their customers, indirectly) paid those proportions of the duties on iron for their rails, locomotives, and wheels. One can come up with many more examples.
SOURCE: North & South, January 2004, Vol. 7, Number 1, page 52
For fun I'll get us started:
McPherson kicks off his article with the allegation that Charles Adams' statistics on pp. 26-27 of his book are fabricated and unsourced. I just pulled out my copy of Adams' book "When in the Course of Human Events" and opened to the pages in question. Contrary to McPherson's assertion, the paragraph where Adams' statistics are stated is very clearly sourced as Endnote #14 in Chapter 2. I flipped to the back of the book where the endnotes are given and sure enough there is a source:
Jabez L.M. Curry, "The Perils and Duty of the South" Nov. 26, 1860.
Recipient: The Wlat Brigade
Reason: To see the communist historian James McPherson make an idiot of himself once again.
Exactly where were these "free states"? (/sarcasm)
Jabez L.M. Curry, "The Perils and Duty of the South" Nov. 26, 1860.
If you've been around here for a while, you will know that I have expressed exasperation about the history of the WBTS that I learned in school. I think there is a lot to be said for the South's position on secession, and little good to be said about Abraham Lincoln.
BUT ... I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss a man or McPherson's credentials on a subject such as this. Maybe it was a bit much to say Adams made something up out of thin air (though I'm still looking for any reason he might have believed that Lincoln ordered the arrest of Taney) but merely being able to cite someone who has misstated facts in the past does not necessarily represent good scholarship.
This is just another case in a long pattern of similar behavior by McPherson. As a case in point, I've posted many rebuttals of his historically shoddy articles on FR and other forums before. I've also assembled a large ammount of evidence that McPherson writes from the far left wing of the political spectrum and actively associates with a communist political party (if you desire to see either of these items freepmail me and I'll send you a copy or a link).
Maybe it was a bit much to say Adams made something up out of thin air
By all professional standards it was. To look at a properly footnoted page with a fully disclosed source and then state that no source is given is a lie. To follow that lie up with a subsequent unsourced counter claim of your own is to engage in hypocrisy. McPherson did both in that article.
(though I'm still looking for any reason he might have believed that Lincoln ordered the arrest of Taney)
Adams recently wrote a piece on this detailing his sources. The first and most direct is a record written by Ward Hill Lamon, who states himself as a party to executing arrest warrant (he was the federal marshall for D.C.) on Taney. Lamon was also one of Lincoln's closest personal friends and essentially followed the president around Washington as a personal bodyguard. Lamon, along with Lincoln's law partner William Herndon and longtime friend Joshua Speed, probably new and witnessed Lincoln's day-to-day life better than any other man who ever knew him so there is no reason to doubt that Lamon, if he was telling the truth, would have been privy to that sort of information.
Second, Adams cites two contemporary 1860's sources who recorded their personal conversations with Taney himself in which it was divulged that the Chief Justice had some sort of knowledge pertaining to an arrest plot against him. Though not explicit, they corroborate each other and both come in a time period that lends credibility to Lamon's account.
I will readily concede that the verdict is still out on the Taney arrest story and hope that more material will surface to prove or disprove it. The Lamon document, for example, was only rediscovered a few years ago. The two Taney accounts, which appear in books by their authors that were published in the 1870's and 80's but are obscure today, were only brought to public attention a few months ago.
Second, Adams cites two contemporary 1860's sources who recorded their personal conversations with Taney himself in which it was divulged that the Chief Justice had some sort of knowledge pertaining to an arrest plot against him. Though not explicit, they corroborate each other and both come in a time period that lends credibility to Lamon's account. Thanks for your reply.
It would have been much nicer if Adams had put all this stuff in his book, but he didn't (or so it is my recollection). We, who present an alternate history, are never allowed to be wrong about anything whether it be in regard to Abraham Lincoln or Vincent Foster; and we can't be right either if we do not present an overwhelming barrage of facts.
I do think it's a bit Clintonian (or Lincolnesque) to think that a single cite to someone almost no one remembers can establish a fact. Academics like McPherson are quick to dismiss such sources and usually they are correct to do so.
My copy of it shows him citing the Lamon account in his book. The other two were not known at the time his book came out though. There is one error in his book's version of the Lamon account, though it is not at the fault of Adams. He also mentions a corroborating document to Lamon by Frances Lieber, which has since been found not to exist. The error originated a few years ago after the discovery of the Lamon document in which another author mistakenly identified the same document as being both by Lamon and by Lieber. Thus most works from roughly 1995 to roughly 2001 repeat the Lieber error. After roughly 2001 this error was discovered, so subsequent articles including Adams' have corrected for it.
I do think it's a bit Clintonian (or Lincolnesque) to think that a single cite to someone almost no one remembers can establish a fact.
Actually Lamon is generally well remembered as a historical figure, at least among Lincoln scholars. He is the main source for many commonly known events about Lincoln's life, such as how he got to Washington before the inauguration when the threat of a kidnapping or assassination was high. Lamon is also the source of the informationr regarding Lincoln's trip to Ford's Theater in which he was warned not to go due to the danger. Sometime in the 1880's or 90's some surviving members of the Lincoln administration, led by Sec. of Interior Usher, wrote Lamon on the issue of documenting his knowledge of Lincoln for history. They identified to him as the last living close personal friend of Lincoln who saw Lincoln day-to-day in action. I believe Herndon had recently died as had most of Lincoln's cabinet at the time. In response Lamon began assembling his letters and stories for a biography (he had gotten another individual to ghost-write a Lincoln biography for him in the 1870's but it was of generally poor quality and unrepresentative of what Lamon himself knew). What Lamon had completed of this project was edited and published posthumously around 1900 by his daughter and is generally considered among the 3-4 most reliable "insider" biographies of Lincoln's life. It's greatest shortcoming is the fact that it was never finished and is very incomplete, so many events and large segments of the timeline were never recorded in it.
There are some surviving customs house reciepts, but they are incomplete in one major way: they don't show the whole picture. Customs house reciepts only recorded the initial point of entry for goods and not the subsequent inland and coastal shipping of them. To draw conclusions upon them would be something akin to getting the partial shipment records of the goods that went through the massive Wal-Mart distribution facility in Arkansas while lacking any records of what stores they shipped out to next. So yes - McPherson is short of facts and supplants them by appealing to "common sense" and that "common sense" is anything but for anybody who understands the economics of international trade.
The problem is that where a tarrif is collected has nothing to do with either who bears the cost of the tarrif or who benefits. Whether you agree with DiLorenzo's take on Lincoln and the relative role of tarrifs vs slavery or not, he is an economist who has dealt with this issue of tarrifs in the antibellum US in some detail and has demonstrated that the South paid a substantially disproportianate share of the tarrif while the North reaped a substantially disproportionate share of government spending from the tarrif income. (Note to MacPherson - this is called a wealth transfer and can sometimes explain part of the reason why some parts of a society seem to have a higher standard of living than others)
Looks like a good topic !
Dr. RDF, do you think Dr. Quackenbush would like a piece of this?
I missed this, probably because it occurs several paragraphs after the initial statement of fact. I saw that Adam actually cited Hyman (A More Perfect Union). So I did a little looking into this book and found this on usenet:
If you read this newsgroup regularly, or read libertarian or neo-Confederate Web publications, you might have heard that Lincoln authorized or ordered the arrest of Chief Justice Roger Taney. The columnist Joseph Sobran has stated it as fact at least three times, and Jerome Tuccille, the guide for civil liberties on About.com, has also referred to it.I guess I wouldn't have put it in the book if I were Adams. There's enough damning stuff so there is no need to use such questionable material.
The story seems to stem from the following paragraph in Jeffrey Rogers Hummel's 1996 book _Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men_ (p. 154):
"_Ex parte Merryman_ appears in Civil War histories from many angles. . . But almost never brought up is Lincoln's warrant for the arrest of Chief Justice Taney. I have seen this mentioned in only two locations: Frederick S. Calhoun's official history, _The Lawmen: United States Marshals and Their Deputies_, rev. edn. (New York: Penguin Books, 1991), pp. 102-04; and Harold M. Hyman,_ A More Perfect Union: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution_ (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1973), p. 84. Their sources are two independent manuscript collections, which lends credence to the claim's reliability, although I have personally examined neither collection."
Curious about this claim, I consulted both sources. Hyman states that "in an unpublished memorandum, Francis Lieber noted that Lincoln contemplated Taney's arrest, and issued Ward Hill Lamon, marshal for the District of Columbia, permission to arrest him"(p. 84). Calhoun goes into a bit more detail, recounting Lamon's exact claims that "after due consideration the administration determined upon the arrest of the Chief Justice" and that "It was finally determined to place the order of arrest in the hand of the United States Marshal for the District of Columbia"(Lamon himself was Marshal of D.C.). However, Lamon said, Lincoln had instructed his friend to "use his own discretion about making the arrest unless he should receive further orders(p. 103)". These further orders never came, and Lamon (obviously) did not arrest Taney.
This is an odd story. Lincoln referred to Lamon as "my particular friend" and clearly valued him as a companion. But there is no record, as far as I can tell, that Lincoln ever consulted Lamon on a decision of high political importance, much less that he entrusted Lamon with such a decision. Also, it was not clear if these were in fact two independent sources; Lieber could have been merely recounting Lamon's claims about such a warrant, rather than vouching for them independently. Still, Francis Lieber was a highly respected lawyer, the principal compiler of the US military code, and his assertion would carry some weight.
The manuscript sources listed are (by Hyman) "Lieber Papers no. 2422"; and (by Calhoun) "'Habeas Corpus', n.d., unpublished draft manuscript. Both are stored at the Huntington Library, in San Marino, California.
Although I would have liked to visit the Huntington (I drove past it on a recent trip to California; it is in a beautiful botanical garden), time and budgetary constraints were in the way. So I wrote a letter, reproducing the relevant quotations from all three books and asking if I might be able to hire someone there to look into the manuscript sources a bit.
I received a very interesting reply from John Rhodehamel, Norris Foundation Curator of American Historical Manuscripts. He had checked the records, and reported that there are not two sources, only one: Lamon. Hyman's reference to the Lieber papers was in error, apparently caused by a confusion of source numbers: Rhodehamel states that "the corresponding document in the Lieber coll., (LI 2422), is not relevant, nor does the Lieber coll. subject index for "Taney" yield anything related to Lamon's story." However, the manuscript "Habeas Corpus", referred to by Calhoun, is LN 2422. Therefore, Rhodehamel concludes: "I think it's clear that Hyman was really citing LN 2422 when he credited 'Lieber papers no. 2422'".
This leaves the whole matter resting on Lamon's manuscript. I ordered a photocopy of it from the Huntington.
I have now examined it, and it's even less convincing than I would have thought. The document takes up five handwritten pages; I'd estimate it's about 1800 words long. There is, as Calhoun notes, no date. The latest date in the document is in 1863, but (as pointed out in an accompanying note written by Don Fehrenbacher in 1976), the context indicates the document was composed well after the events referred to. Also, according to Fehrenbacher, the document is _not_ in Lamon's handwriting. This does not mean it is spurious (most authors or researchers in the 19th century had secretaries copying their drafts), but neither does it inspire confidence.
"Habeas Corpus" appears (to me) to be the beginning of a projected treatise on the Lincoln administration and the writ of habeas corpus. It begins with a list of the suspensions of the writ, and long quotations from relevant legal documents, especially Taney's opinion in the Merryman case (although Lamon, or perhaps his copyist, persistently spells it "Merriman"). After recounting Merryman's arrest, his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, and that petition's acceptance by Taney, Lamon gives his version of the Lincoln administration's reaction (p.3):
"After due consideration the administration determined upon the arrest of the Chief Justice. A warrant or order was issued for his arrest." Lamon was given this document (whatever exactly it was) by Lincoln himself, but told to use his own judgement about actually making the arrest, unless Lincoln gave further instructions. Lamon goes on: "This writ was never executed, and the Marshal never regretted the discretionary power delegated to him in the exercise of this official duty."
Lamon says no more about the supposed arrest order. The "Habeas Corpus" document continues with more quotations from legal opinions and military orders, as well as from Democratic party resolutions opposing the Lincoln administration's policies. Then it ends suddenly, with no conclusion. There is nothing about what ended up happening to the original writ, warrant, or order.
After reading the full text, Lamon's story seems even odder than before.
A Federal law enforcement officer, handed a legal document authorizing the arrest of the Chief Justice, would be unlikely to refer to it as vaguely and variously as Lamon does. The issuance of such an arrest order would clearly be of major historic importance, and would tend to make relevant details stick in the mind. Details like whether it was a warrant, a writ, or an order; by whom and when it was issued; and who was present when the document was handed over. Lamon quotes multiple paragraphs from Taney's _Merryman_ opinion, a public document, but passes over the alleged warrant (or whatever it was), a historic matter of which he has sole knowledge, in only a couple of sentences.
After I informed Jeffrey Rogers Hummel of Rhodehamel's findings, Hummel emailed me stating that "If Ward Hill Lamon is the only source reporting that Lincoln isued an arrest warrant for Taney, then the report is certainly not credible." (He gave me permission to quote him publicly). Seeing the exact words of the report makes it even less credible.
I apologize for the brevity of my quotations from Lamon; I am seeking permission from the Huntington library to include some more extensive quotes from Lamon's manuscript, but I have not yet received it.
I am still researching a couple of aspects of this: I am looking for a sample of Lamon's handwriting so I can confirm "Habeas Corpus" was not handwritten by him, and I am looking for more biographical material on Lamon.
Also, if anyone else has come across the "Lincoln tried to arrest Taney" story in credible or quasi-credible publications or online sources, I would be interested in hearing about it.
Actually Lamon is generally well remembered as a historical figure ...
I agree. I was referring to Jabez L.M. Curry.
The subject is tariffs, the causes of the Civil War, and the historiographical stewardship of James McPherson.
Lincoln certainly delegated one item of high political importance to Lamon, that of telling the governor of South Carolina that Fort Sumter would be evacuated.
I'm not so sure that Sumter didn't become the event it was until after the war was over. The Star of the West was fired upon in Charleston Harbor four months before, but few remember.
And I have to admit that I didn't go over Eros' post with a fine tooth comb. I thought it was interesting and added something to the discussion about the supposed Taney arrest. If you have better information, please bring it forward.
That's one of the usenet discussions over the Lieber document that came to light after Hummel and Adams et al wrote about the account. There are several pieces of information within it that are also questionable at best. Among them:
But there is no record, as far as I can tell, that Lincoln ever consulted Lamon on a decision of high political importance, much less that he entrusted Lamon with such a decision.
This is about as false as they get. Lamon was extremely close to Lincoln as a friend, advisor, and personal bodyguard. They were friends back in Illinois and used to try cases together before Lincoln was President. After Lamon and Lincoln arrived in D.C. Lincoln appointed him federal marshall and also continuously employed him as a political agent. In fact, this is the reason that Lamon wasn't at Ford's Theater to stop the assassination. A few days earlier Lincoln had sent him on a political mission to Richmond to serve as his agent in the reorganization of the Virginia government now that the war was over. Lamon did that sort of stuff for Lincoln all the time so it is not at all unusual that Lincoln would have used him for the Taney warrant.
Nor does the author's question about the Lamon paper's date discredit it. As I previously noted, Lamon spent a great deal of time in the later years of his life writing down and recording his personal recollections of Lincoln in preparation for a book on that subject. He died with before completion of the project in the 1890's and his daughter accumulated the finished portions of it into a book that was published around 1900. Lamon's notes and recollections on Lincoln encompass a period from roughly 1866 to Lamon's death, and only a small portion of them made it into the biography edited by his daughter (subsequent editions of it, for example, have included appendixes with new passages). It is highly likely if not certain that the habeas corpus document was one such item composed by Lamon.
Nor is it the least bit unusual that he would not have quoted the arrest warrant itself - arrest warrants are entirely boring legalistic documents that normally use a standard form and have very little literary significance in themselves. Contrast that with a court ruling, which is a formal legal argument and is unique onto itself. Lamon was a lawyer and knew this distinction.
In short, the entirity of the usenet piece's argument rests upon conjecture and speculation regarding the person of Ward Hill Lamon. Unfortunately the author of that piece knows extremely little about the life, person, or activities of Ward Hill Lamon during and after the Lincoln administration. As we now learn the very same aspects he questions were entirely consistent with what Lamon is known to have been doing in the years that followed the assassination, viz.: assembling passages with his own recollections of Lincoln for an eventual biography.
I agree. I was referring to Jabez L.M. Curry.
You must not know your history then. Jabez L.M. Curry was one of the preeminant university scholars in 19th century America. To cite him as a scholarly source on tariff policy is perfectly valid. He was also a congressman from Alabama and the University of Virginia's school of education is named after him. His likeness is in the United States Capitol's statuary hall: http://www.aoc.gov/cc/art/nsh/curry.htm
Correct. Lamon was one of Lincoln's most trusted agents throughout the war. When Lincoln had something of high importance that needed personal attention he went to Lamon. That also included sending Lamon to Richmond in 1865 to reorganize the Virginia government, which is why Lamon wasn't at Ford's Theater.
Thanks for the education. I haven't been down to UVa since October! And I never would have made the connection.
Exports certainly enter into the balance of payments between countries and the value of a currency. Senator Wigfall of Texas had a good take on the situation on the floor of the Senate on Feb 7, 1861 (Congressional Globe, pg 789):
"How will it be with New England? Where will their revenue come from? From your custom-houses? What do you export? You have been telling us here for the last quarter of a century, that you cannot manufacture even for the home market under the tariffs which we have given you. When this tariff ceases to operate in your favor, and you have to pay for coming into our market, what will you expect to export?"
Raising tariffs on imported goods allowed Northern manufactured goods to compete with foreign ones. Earnings from the sales of cotton were then spent, in part, on Northern manufactured goods, thereby transferring some of the wealth of the South to the North.
Notice of Summons?????
From South Carolina Governor Pickens:
In a very few days after, another confidential agent, Colonel Lamon, was sent by the President, who informed me that he had come to try and arrange for the removal of the garrison, and, when he returned from the fort, asked if a war vessel could not be allowed to remove them. I replied, that no war vessel could be allowed to enter the harbor on any terms. He said he believed Major Anderson preferred an ordinary steamer, and I agreed that the garrison might be thus removed. He said he hoped to return in a very few days for that purpose.
There are references to this effort of Lamon's and Lincoln's in the Official Records, i.e., documents written before the attack on Fort Sumter, such as a letter from General Beauregard to Major Anderson referring to it.
I'm not so sure that Sumter didn't become the event it was until after the war was over.
A unique response, if I've ever heard one.
A unique response, if I've ever heard one.
Tell me why no one remembers, or doesn't want to remember, the Star of the West. It carried Union troops and supplies for Fort Sumter. The folks in South Carolina didn't like this and fired upon the ship when it entered Charleston Harbor on January 9, 1861. Certainly this was a hostile act. Your beloved "Fort Sumter," whatever it was had not been completed or occupied at the time of Lincoln's election. The event everyone wants us to remember occurred on April 12, 1861. Why do they want us to forget what happened before?
Because what happened before wasn't used by a yankee president as an excuse to launch the bloodiest war of invasion in the history of the North American continent.
Open you eyes. I think I'm on your side.
Why do you think "Honest Abe" didn't want all those Yankees to "Remember the Star"?
Doesn't look like your summons is working very well, Glendower.
You mean you don't remember the Federal troops who charged civilian laborers with bayonets inside Fort Sumter on December 26, 1860 or the Federal troops who fought and overpowered a ship captain and took his schooner to Fort Sumter that same evening? Those kind of hostile acts? Not hostile I guess unless you were on the receiving end.
I have somewhere, but can't find at the moment, contemporary Southern newspaper reaction to The Star of the West incident that called it war. But none of the above stuck with the general populace as the beginning of the war.
There was a picket ship posted outside the Charleston bar which warned off The Star of the West, but the Star continued on into the harbor despite the warning. The South Carolinians then fired a shot in front of The Star of the West as a warning to stop, but it did not stop, so shooting continued. The Star of the West, which was filled with troops and munitions in spite of President Buchannan's agreement with South Carolinians not to change the situation in the harbor, was hit at least twice before turning around and leaving. It scraped bottom on the Charleston bar several times as it left.
Afterwards, the Federal sloop of war Brooklyn appeared and reportedly drove off a ship trying to enter the port. At least, that is what the old newspapers say.
You: You mean you don't remember the Federal troops who charged civilian laborers with bayonets inside Fort Sumter on December 26, 1860 or the Federal troops who fought and overpowered a ship captain and took his schooner to Fort Sumter that same evening? Those kind of hostile acts? Not hostile I guess unless you were on the receiving end.
I ask you why no one remembers the Star of the West, and you write about some othe event(s) no one remembers. Why doesn't anyone (or nearly anyone) think of these as initiating events of the WBTS? I think I know why. Do you?
You're here, aren't you?
Not anymore. Have fun.
Does that mean you are returning to the "vasty deep" from whence you came?
Are you playing 20 questions? If no one remembers it, why can I easily find information on it? The incidents certainly were events that led to the war, just as John Brown's actions did and the refusal of Northern states to obey the Constitution where escaped slaves were concerned.
It takes two sides to make a war. As the Bouvier Law Dictionary says, "War is not only an act, but a state or condition, for nations are said to be at war not only when their armies are engaged, so as to be in the very act of contention, but also when, they have any matter of controversy or dispute subsisting between them which they are determined to decide by the use of force, and have declared publicly, or by their acts, their determination so to decide it."
Anderson didn't fire at the attackers of the Star. The Star didn't fire back either. The armies were not engaged. Only one side used force. It was just an incident, not a war. The Federal side blinked and withdrew the Star and its troops. At Sumter the Feds fired back, and both armies were engaged.
Buchanan didn't follow up after the attack on the Star like Lincoln did after the attack on Fort Sumter. Buchanan acquiesced; Lincoln recognized what he called an insurrection and called up ordered up 75,000 troops on April 15th and declared a blockade on April 19th. Buchanan didn't do that. Lincoln took an action he knew would lead to war (resupplying the fort), and he got it.
Of course, Lincoln didn't have the power to declare war. That power resided in Congress, which he didn't convene until July 4th so they wouldn't get in his way.
Not surprisingly perhaps, in a speech to the Confederate Congress, Jefferson Davis said, "The declaration of war made against this Confederacy, by Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in his proclamation, issued on the 15th day of the present month [April] ..."; That was the proclamation that called for 75,000 troops. Davis knew about the Star, of course, but didn't call that incident a declaration of war.
BTW, when it came our way, we in Texas captured the Star (April 17, 1861).
The tariff was not an issue to those that went to war in 1861. In fact the South if it won their war of independence would have imposed a tariff in an effort to build their newly minted industrial base.
These arguments evolve amongst those that look to either blame or absolve the North or South.
It certainly was to Lincoln; he brought it up himself in conversation. And it certainly was to people in New York City, whose newspapers' editorials record the collective gasp of realization that went up as the Southern States began to leave the Union.
These arguments evolve amongst those that look to either blame or absolve the North or South.
Well, the principal dialogue is between the incriminators, like McPherson, who have a further political agenda (they would call it "applying lessons learned" or something like that), and the traditionalists who are arguing back against the Marxists' revisionism and their sometimes implicit, sometimes explicit moral accusations against the South, Southern leaders, or more to the point, modern white Southerners.
McPherson and his fellows are engaged in attempting to fix a scarlet letter of their own devising on Southerners, for their own purposes. Naturally, some of the Southerners are resisting indignantly.
Lincoln did not declare war on the South. The South declared war on the North and did so via arms without a chance at negotiations. The South did not reject the North over tariffs and Lincoln did not fight the war over that issue either.
That Lincoln may have mentioned it in passing is noted. I am also sure Lincoln mentioned the price of cotton in London markets on occasion but that is not why the war was fought for either.