my questions are-does anyone know what each state tax laws were in 1860. were people actually spending more on state taxes than on federal tariffs-if tariffs were the reason for secession how come no one ever explains that reason in detail. did people have more of a grievance with thier local goverments? i know people in the western part of virginia did. i guess i just want someone to really explain the reason taxes were the cause-thanks for any replies
A discussion of causes of secession is bound to spark responses in this forum.
The role of tariffs and their importance is still debated. Generally, those in the south viewed them as an unfair transfer of wealth from the south to the Federal Government (Its main source of revenue) which had come to favor the interests of those in the north.
Here is the view of it from a British subject:
"Union means so many millions a year lost to the South; secession means the loss of the same millions to the North. The love of money is the root of this as of many other evils. The quarrel between the North and the South is, as it stands, solely a fiscal quarrel." - Charles Dickens
I do not believe the part about it being a solely fiscal quarrel, but that was certainly part of it. Here is a short history of tariffs and the role they played in the political system from the early years of the Republic.
Disagreements over tariffs can be put in a larger category that could be called: "Sectional differences." By the middle of the 19th century, you had not only north and south, but an emerging west. As their political power diminished, the southerners felt more and more that their interests were being threatened.
Those in the south were alarmed by what they saw as continual pressure to expand the powers of the federal government relative to those of the states. They tended to be : "Strict constructionists" in their views of how closely the Constitution should be followed in determining what powers the federal government should have.
The issue of what powers the federal government should have is still a hotly debated issue today. By 1860, many in the south believed that the federal government had assumed powers that were not given to it by the Constitution. They felt that the compact that the southern states had made with the others had been violated. Since the states had created the federal government instead of the other way around, they felt that it was their right to sever their connection to it.
i guess i just want someone to really explain the reason taxes were the cause-thanks for any replies.
Texas Defender has already responded better than I can in that many hold that tariffs were a cause and many hold that they were not. This argument has been going on for decades now, and even moreso with the advent of discussion boards.
First, let me head off potential misunderstanding: any tax paid was a matter between the states and their people -- there was no Federal Tax. The complaint was with the tariffs, which only the importer paid. Of course, the importer was going to pass along the cost to the end-user.
Sometime back, a member did a little math and determined that 1860 total customs paid amounted $1.96 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. With about 9,000,000 souls in the slave states (including slaves) and about 22,000,000 in the free states, the idea that southerners paid a disproportionate amount is difficult to demonstrate.
thanks for the replies-even if the south didnt like tariffs wasnt money paid in also comimg back to the south via river,harbors,coasts improvements,lighthouses,military pensions,military protection[us army majority was in texas] and other things that had to be paid for? heres another question if the north wrote the history afterward and 'brainwashed' us all as to the facts why aren't grant,sherman,thomas etc. more remembered than lee and jackson.lincoln is really the only 'yankee'[besides custer] really almost everyone has heard of?
If you do a search a few years ago we discussed this at length.
One of the problems with the tariff question, which went back 40+ years before the war was the transfer of wealth to the North and it's application to internal improvements that favored the growing industrial base in the North with no or very little improvements in the South. The South did not see the need for either the tariffs or the internal improvements so they became a rallying point for Southern States Rights.
Also keep in mind the mindset of may in the South that many of these were actually "perceived threats", not necessarily actual actions.
To an extent it was the same thought process with slavery.
Where there were actual threats such as the tariffs on English woven goods, to protect the Northern mills, it was done to the detriment of southern slaveholders and their need for cheap cloth.
Keep in mind the South produced the raw goods, cotton, but the actual cloth was produced up North and then resold back South at a higher price than could be gotten from English mills. This type of situation really ate at the Southerners.