If you read the story below, you will see many similarities with our current situation:
For years, I have believed that taxes, not slavery, were the root cause of the War Between the States. Like the American Revolution, the Civil War was fought over taxation. Economic disputes between the North and South existed even before the Revolutionary War, and things got even worse with the Tariff of 1828.
The Tariff of 1828, which included very high duties on raw materials, raised the average tariff on imported goods to 45 percent. The Mid-Atlantic states were the biggest supporters of the new tariff. Southerners, who imported all of their industrial products, strongly opposed this tariff. They named the tariff the “Tariff of Abominations.” They blamed this tariff for their worsening economic conditions.
The tariff was nominally created to repay the debts incurred after the War of 1812. This wasn’t actually the case. By 1832 the national debt was paid and there was no reason for this tariff. What actually happened was that the tariff created a favorable situation for the North, who benefited greatly from such high taxes at the expense of the South. Since the Southern states didn’t produce manufactured goods, they were forced to buy those goods from either Europe or the Northern states. Since the South also needed to sell their agricultural goods in Europe, this created a situation where the Southern states were paying roughly 75% of all American taxes.
The Southern states just didn’t want to pay the tariffs, and began refusing to do so. (This idea of “State nullification” of Federal laws that states didn’t feel were constitutional was first advanced by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.) The states, led by South Carolina, declared the tariff null and void, and simply refused to pay.
So in 1833, the “Force Bill” was passed, allowing the president to use whatever force he deemed necessary, including the military, to collect taxes owed by the Southern states. Along came Lincoln, who campaigned on a platform of putting the tariffs back in place so that his sponsors could again enjoy the profits that the protectionist scheme caused.
Then it came to pass that in 1861, a new tax was passed, the Morrill Tariff. This tariff was the highest tax in American history to that point, and taxed imports at over 45%, with imported iron products taxed at 50%. This forced the South to buy northern iron products from the North at whatever prices the North wanted to charge. Victorious Republicans cheered the heavy taxes that benefitted the Northern industrialists who had backed Lincoln’s campaign.
In response, furious Southern states drafted a new constitution of their own which included a ban on high import taxation. The South’s strategy was to offer low import taxes so that North American trade would migrate to the tax-friendly ports of the South that included Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans.
The North was willing to live with slavery in the South, but were not willing to make such a concession on taxes. The forts in Southern ports were staffed by troops of the northern Army to enforce tariffs and collect taxes.
The South announced that it no longer wanted to be a part of a union where they would be robbed in order to make northern businessmen wealthy. They seceded. The north still enforced the tariffs using military force.
Fort Sumter, which was located at the entrance to Charleston Harbor and filled with federal troops enforcing the collection of taxes by U.S. customs officers, was fired upon by frustrated southerners on April 12, 1861.
I see many parallels between that situation and this one. The cities of the US used to produce manufactured goods, while the rest of the country produced the food, water, energy, and other products. Manufacturing is gone, and the only thing made in the cities now is more of the dependent class.
Even now, they continue to demand things like the elimination of automobiles, which aren’t needed in the cities, but are essential to the rest of the nation. I’m sure that you can see many other parallels. I think that, like the War Between the States, the real motivator behind our current situation is that the powers that be see that our current economic situation has run its course. The Social Security Ponzi scheme is running out of money. Our national debt is spiraling out of control.
So this is where we are.