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The Collapse

Picking a Fight

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.

15 replies on “Picking a Fight”

OMG!! Don’t you know it is sacrilege to even suggest that there might have been another reason for the Civil War instead of slavery? Or that there might have been another reason in addition to slavery? Or that certain cynical politicians might have used the abolitionist movement (rather small prior to the war) as a moral cover for their financial devastation of the South. Heresy, I tell you!

Imagine, if you will, far into the future a young historian is interviewing a 100 year old survivor of the second civil war.

“But sir, you lived in Texas. Why would you fight a war over a Virginia school board issue??

“Dammit, son, there was more to the war than the school board, though them school board liberals were bad enough. You don’t know about the economic destruction of the middle class?”

“Sir, every historian on the internet agrees that the sole reason for CW2 was the Loudoun county school board. There’s complete agreement among us.”

“Dammit son, I keep telling you, there was the Clinton murder spree, the selling of our country to China, the open borders, the forced resettlement of muslim refugees in our neighborhoods, the …”

“Sir, really, you must be suffering dementia. We all know the country wasn’t upset over those good things the progressives were doing. It was strictly about the …”

Old guy pulling out his 1911, “You say school board one more time, boy.”

End interview.

And that’s no more ridiculous that the vast army of internet trolls who insist the original Civil War was 100% about slavery and nothing else. Good analysis above.

Something similar has happened with WWII already. Ask a random person “How many people died in WWII?” I know this is not an easy question to answer, but that’s not the point, because the top answers are:
1. Huh?
2. Well, Hitler killed 6 million Jews…. [then many people have no idea of ANYthing else, even something as basic as “Who were the Axis powers?”]

First off, pretty sure the Morrill Tariff wasn’t passed in 1961.

“Then it came to pass that in 1961, a new tax was passed…”

“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, 1961.”

native Texan, 3rd grade teacher Mrs Johnson .. who incidentaly was black. taught us the war was over taxes and economics. north could give no shits over slavery. wonderful lady who kept my dumb unruly ass in line long enough to maybe learn something.

Honest question: why did the southern states secede after Lincoln’s election but BEFORE he took office?

If it was all about taxes, then what did Lincoln do or say prior to the election that changed the situation so dramatically that the south had to leave before he took office? Why not wait until he actually enacted some outrageous law before seceding?

A key to this whole issue is that no one at the time talked directly about slavery. It was referred to as that “peculiar institution”. I believe that everyone was embarrassed by it, knowing that it was incompatible with the concept of individual liberty. Politicians weren’t for or against it, but were men of “southern” or “northern” persuasion. So, when looking at the writings of the times, we have to read between the lines. The absence of any discussion about slavery doesn’t mean that it was not part of the issue. At first, all presidents were southern men, then later, as the north grew more populous, the presidents were “northern men of southern persuasion”. I believe that Lincoln was the first northern man of northern persuasion elected President.

And remember that this was in the quaint old days of truly limited government. The President couldn’t just enact some rule without legislative approval.

So, again, why leave BEFORE he took office?

It’s a great question, and the answer is long enough for a book, or at least a post of its own. I am at work today, so when I get home I will see if I can work up a future post to answer it.

IIRC, there was understanding (rumor?) of Fed troops at Sumter being reinforced by more Fed troops on the way. So the attack on Sumter was actually a pre-emptive action.

Social security is going bankrupt because the democrats stole it to create welfare and keep their black slaves at least voting slaves.
Every other life sucking problem can be attributed to democrats (and useless do nothing republicans).
We should have never fought the civil war. Let the dems have their country and never give them any money or support. They’d all be dead by now.

We tend to think in terms of red states and blue states. It’s helpful to remember that the real division is urban centers vs the more rural areas. Look at a red/blue map of Florida for a perfect example. The bigger the population the bluer the politics. Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and then the I-4 corridor from Daytona through Orlando and over to Tampa/St. Pete. Dade is less blue than Broward because of the Cubans who have lived under actual communism. They’ll age out of the population soon.

There’s a meme that has been going around for ages that says, “why is social security going bankrupt but welfare never does?”

Among the problems with Soc Sec is that it was originally something that everyone paid into but that was changed so that people who never paid into it get money out of it. How could it stay solvent when they legislate the constraints out of existence?

The other problem is that collapse of the dollar that started when the Fed was created got far worse when Nixon killed off the gold standard has hurt social security and every other method of saving.

That is correct. Under Buchanan, IIRC, the plan was conceived but itv was Lincoln, with advice from Gustavus Foxx, pur it into action. Read Lincolm 1st inaugural speech and you can see the direct line to the Star Of The West. As Ft. Sumter’s commander Anderson wrote, when he received news of the Star Of The West with armed escort supply fleet, that he then considered the war as having started. That was before Beauregard’s actions.
The Star Of The West run achieved Lincoln’s goal.

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