I’ve read that with out the tariffs, North East industrialists would be out of business as the then super factories of England could produce and deliver equipment cheaper. Further, this would cost Wall Street investors who financed the North East factories. New England/New York economy would collapse.
I find it quite interesting that many of the same people around here who object to protective tariffs for the America of the 1850s think similar measures would be just wonderful today.
My question was not whether protective tariffs existed but rather the claim that southerners paid 80% of all tariffs, which could only be the case if they purchased 80% of the products on which tariffs were paid. This seems unlikely, to put it mildly.
BTW, protective tariffs became a political issue after the War of 1812, when the military and political drawbacks of near-total dependence on imports vulnerable to British blockades became obvious. The most powerful proponent of protective tariffs for most of the period in question was Henry Clay, a Kentucky slaveowner.
What generally gets missed in most of these discussions about northern “oppression” of the South is that for the entire first half of the 19th century there WAS no North, as a self-concious political block.
There was a (north)East and a (north)West. The West, being almost entirely agricultural, was generally allied with the South, between them controlling the government as against the still mostly agricultural but increasingly urban and industrial East.
The South created the North by aggressively pushing expansion of slavery and driving the West into the arms of the East. The Republican Party was formed in protest against the unwillingness of the existing parties to resist this expansion.
The southern strategy of trying to force expansion of slavery down the throat of the northern people turned out to be a very bad idea.