Her writing style aside (some have mentioned in this thread), as Ayn Rand used to say: check your premises. First, after 40 years of trying to to gain fair treatment on tariff issues - they managed to get the average rate down to 15% by 1857, but the southern states were STILL paying 80% of the total, & were seeing precious little in return for all the loot being sent north - in the 1859-60 congressional session the house of reps passed the Morrill tarriff, followed by the Senate in the next session of early 1861, just before Lincoln's inauguration. The Morrill tarriff raised the average rate to 47%! So, they triple the rate, Lincoln comes in, gives his first inaugural address, & says its his duty to collect the tarriff, and as long as that happens, there will be no invasion. Second, while the above was unfolding, the CSA constitution was drafted & it outlawed protectionist tarriffs altogether (they were trying to rectify weaknesses that had been designed into the US constitution by the federalists - NOT create their own mercantilist good-old-boy network...). Until the north became aware of this, there was no hue & cry for the euphemistic 'preservation of the union' - many in the north, including opinion-makers (editorialists & such), were indifferent-to-supportive of southern secession - but when they realized that most trade would flow away from high-tarriff northern ports to low tarriff southern ports, thats when the jingoism began. Third, 7 states seceeded initially; the final 4 joined them later only as the result of Lincoln's unconstitutional invasion. Maryland would have seceded too, but federal troops managed to get there quickly, throw the state government into jail, & garrison the state. Oh, and by the way, merely walking away from a voluntary compact is not 'overthrow' (which is why it is incorrect to refer to the hostilities as a 'civil war'...). The only contribution the south made to centralized government was trying, for far too long, to make a system work in which they obviously had no real input. If they had refused to be the north's sharecroppers much sooner, there may have been a chance for federal republicanism.
posted on 06/23/2002 9:51:05 PM PDT
merely walking away from a voluntary compact is not 'overthrow'
An interesting, albeit incorrect, POV. Of course, you are only stating it. The soldiers of the South believed it enough to die for it.
posted on 06/23/2002 10:27:02 PM PDT
Two problems with your arguement. The first one is that in the year prior to the Civil War about 95% of all tariff revenue was collected in three ports - New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. So it can be safely said that the North was paying the lion's share of the tariff, not the south. Second, if tariffs were such a bone of contention for the south then why was one of their first actions the implementation of a tariff which taxed virtually anything and everything imported (except slaves) and at rates some of which were higher than the rates imposed by the federal tariff they were supposed to be rebelling against?
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