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Lincoln's Tariff War
Mises Daily ^ | May 06, 2002 | Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Posted on 12/30/2013 5:18:21 PM PST by dontreadthis

When Charles Adams published his book For Good and Evil, a world history of taxation, the most controversial chapter by far was the one on whether or not tariffs caused the American War between the States. That chapter generated so much discussion and debate that Adams's publisher urged him to turn it into an entire book, in the form of When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession.

Many of the reviewers of this second book, so confident were they that slavery was the one and only possible reason for both Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency and the war itself, excoriated Adams for his analysis that the tariff issue was a major cause of the war. (Adams recently told me in an email that after one presentation to a New York City audience, he felt lucky that "no one brought a rope.")

My book, The Real Lincoln, has received much the same response with regard to the tariff issue. But there is overwhelming evidence that: 1) Lincoln, a failed one-term congressman, would never have been elected had it not been for his career-long devotion to protectionism; and 2) the 1861 Morrill tariff, which Lincoln was expected to enforce, was the event that triggered Lincoln’s invasion, which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

... (snip)

"We are going to make tax slaves out of you," Lincoln was effectively saying, "and if you resist, there will be an invasion." That was on March 4. Five weeks later, on April 12, Fort Sumter, a tariff collection point in Charleston Harbor, was bombarded by the Confederates. No one was hurt or killed, and Lincoln later revealed that he manipulated the Confederates into firing the first shot, which helped generate war fever in the North.

(Excerpt) Read more at mises.org ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government
KEYWORDS: g42; kkk; ntsa; secessioniststooge; tariffs
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taxation as a cause for war is a theme in our country, and additional emphasis with this article. very informative, for me at least. but i'm willing to bet there are some here who are quite familiar with this history.
1 posted on 12/30/2013 5:18:21 PM PST by dontreadthis
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To: dontreadthis

We should be burn8ng washington down due to income tax then.


2 posted on 12/30/2013 5:24:47 PM PST by GraceG
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To: GraceG

I’ll bring the gas if you want to strike the first match.


3 posted on 12/30/2013 5:32:42 PM PST by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal the 16th Amendment)
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To: dontreadthis

50% of Southern financial assets were slaves. They could not imagine a life without theses assets, nor could they imagine a phasing in of freedom from slaves to employees.

Cooler heads would have saved many lives.


4 posted on 12/30/2013 5:32:57 PM PST by cicero2k
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To: cicero2k

“50% of Southern financial assets were slaves.”

Where did you get this information?


5 posted on 12/30/2013 5:41:00 PM PST by dljordan (WhoVoltaire: "To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.")
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To: rockrr

6 posted on 12/30/2013 5:43:27 PM PST by x
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To: dljordan

He made it up.


7 posted on 12/30/2013 5:49:11 PM PST by ought-six ( Multiculturalism is national suicide, and political correctness is the cyanide capsule.)
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To: dljordan

It was either in or about the Killing Lincoln book by BOR.

It’s not an exact number, it is a magnitude.


8 posted on 12/30/2013 6:24:01 PM PST by cicero2k
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To: unixfox

No one wants to light the match....


9 posted on 12/30/2013 6:25:34 PM PST by GraceG
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To: cicero2k

Where did you get that figure “50% of the South’s assets were slaves”? That’s rubbish.


10 posted on 12/30/2013 6:32:46 PM PST by DBCJR (What would you expect?)
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To: cicero2k

Well, but could you, in the interest of maintaining the integrity of the citation, locate the original Denny’s place-mat from which BOR sourced the information?


11 posted on 12/30/2013 6:45:11 PM PST by Brass Lamp
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To: dontreadthis

Except that the Morill tariff was passed with southern cooperation after the South Carolina pretended secession, and was signed by Buchanan without Lincoln’s involvement.

Aside from the facts, is is a wonderful theory.


12 posted on 12/30/2013 6:45:27 PM PST by donmeaker (A man can go anywhere on earth, and where man can go, he can drag a cannon.)
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To: donmeaker

thanks for that


13 posted on 12/30/2013 6:52:35 PM PST by dontreadthis
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To: dontreadthis

It was the tariffs, the slaves, the competing cultures, the competing economic interests, a redux of Federalist vs anti-Federalist arguments, an Abe Lincoln with less than 40% of the vote raising an army to invade his own country, and dozens more reasons all played out with bayonets and cavalry.

There were as many reasons for it as there were people who fought in it.

The truth, as we know, is never so simple or neat as we are taught in school. Whether Weekly Reader in grade school or a PhD dissertation at Harvard, all are at best but summary and at worst, shameless advocacy.

A good way look at the complexity of the last civil war would be to ponder what would the jingoists 100 years from now opine caused our second civil war.

Abortion vs pro-life?
Gun culture vs the anti-gun culture?
Taxes payers vs tax eaters?
Big Government snooping vs libertarians?
Liberty vs tyranny?
Renewables and the EPA vs King Coal and Big Oil?
Homosexual rights vs Southern Baptists and Catholics?
Wall Street vs Main Street?
Free Traders vs Fair Traders
Pro illegal immigrant vs anti-illegal immigrant
Paper vs plastic?
and the list goes on.

All would be right.

In singularity, not enough to kill over. In total, well where is that damn bayonet.


14 posted on 12/30/2013 6:54:42 PM PST by Lowell1775
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To: dljordan
“50% of Southern financial assets were slaves.”

Its possible.

The South was run by democrats at the time.

15 posted on 12/30/2013 6:54:45 PM PST by tsomer
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To: cicero2k
They could not imagine a life without theses assets, nor could they imagine a phasing in of freedom from slaves to employees.

The majority of ex saves became share croppers on the exact same plantations that they were once slaves. Seems like mistreated ex slaves would put as much distance between themselves and their ex owners, but that does not seem to be the case.

16 posted on 12/30/2013 6:59:00 PM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Lowell1775

well-reasoned. thank you


17 posted on 12/30/2013 7:01:30 PM PST by dontreadthis
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To: dontreadthis
Five weeks later, on April 12, Fort Sumter, a tariff collection point in Charleston Harbor

Fort Sumter was under-construction fort intended to defend Charleston Harbor against seaborne attack. Not one dollar of taxes was ever collected there.

18 posted on 12/30/2013 7:28:03 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: dontreadthis

The truly funny part of the idea that the South seceded over taxation (besides the fact that almost nobody in the South said so at the time) is that had secession been successful the South (and North) would almost certainly have both had to impose much greater taxes on their citizens.

Even if the US had allowed the CSA to withdraw peacefully, there were still infinite sources of conflict: borders, trade, fugitive slaves, territories, etc. Almost certainly both sides would have felt obliged to maintain much heavier military forces than those of the pre-1860 US Army. It is entirely likely a European-style arms race would have developed.

It seems pretty unlikely, also, that the South would have been willing to leave its coasts open to blockade by the absence of a navy.

Armies and navies are very expensive and must be paid for. The South would probably have had to raise its tariff much higher than that of 1860 to pay for all this.

The CSA put in place a provision in its Constitution prohibiting protective tariffs, but again it seems likely this would have been repealed or circumvented in short order. Surely the CSA would have wanted armaments that were domestically produced, not produced by its potential enemy or subject to blockade. In fact, that’s exactly what it did during the war, generally quite successfully

So if secession had been successful, within a short time the CSA would have had higher taxes than under the Union, and a protective tariff or its equivalent to boot. Then Alabama and Texas could have gotten their panties all bunched up about Virginia and Tennessee making all the money off the government-supported protected industries.


19 posted on 12/30/2013 7:38:42 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: dontreadthis

Lincoln was a statist in many ways. Many of the Whigs were.


20 posted on 12/30/2013 7:39:05 PM PST by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: dljordan; cicero2k; ought-six; DBCJR
Cicero2k appears to be correct. In the South in 1860, 48% of wealth was in slaves. (In 1850, it was 45%.) (Source) Scroll down to Table 4.
21 posted on 12/30/2013 7:49:08 PM PST by JeepersFreepers (The heart of the wise inclines to the right but the heart of the fool to the left. (Eccl 10:2 NIV))
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To: Sherman Logan

>>Fort Sumter was under-construction fort intended to defend Charleston Harbor against seaborne attack.<<

Another government shovel ready job. Construction began in 1829, but was not completed at the beginning of the war.


22 posted on 12/30/2013 7:50:33 PM PST by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners. And to the NSA trolls, FU)
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To: central_va
They could not imagine a life without theses assets, nor could they imagine a phasing in of freedom from slaves to employees.

The majority of ex saves became share croppers on the exact same plantations ...

It seems that both points are true and together they point to a larger difference between North and South at the root of the slavery issue.

Agricultural economies do not have the cash needed for wage labor. They could produce on average two crops per year, giving them two payouts per year. How could planters keep a ready store of cash on hand for wages? Banking was relatively primitive.

German homesteads in the North were successful--but they never produced on the same export driven scale as the planters. I doubt they could have.

The North never seriously dealt with this problem: provisioning the labor needed to maintain agricultural production-- at least to my knowledge.

Nor did north's invasion improve these circumstances--as evidenced by the share-cropping system that replaced slavery.

Lincoln was a capitalist and did propose solutions in this direction(rejected by both sides) suggesting some insight. I can't say how comprehensive his understanding was, or if he had sufficient power to do anything, but he gets some credit.

FWIW-I'm no historian and others here know more. So, fire away.

23 posted on 12/30/2013 7:50:48 PM PST by tsomer
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To: dontreadthis

the real problem was the South’s one-dimensional
economy, export cotton, import everything else.-—>
every tax law becomes, here v. the other place


24 posted on 12/30/2013 8:04:11 PM PST by RockyTx
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To: tsomer

The main difference is that farm labour needs in the north are much more variable by season than in the south. In the northern climate it makes no sense to feed & house slaves year-round when the growing season is only a few months; it is more economical to use paid labour for the growing season only. The typical pattern in Canada for unskilled labourers was to spend the summer working the fields, then spend the winter in logging camps (it’s easier to move lumber overland if the ground is frozen).


25 posted on 12/30/2013 8:30:56 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (I'd give up chocolate but I'm no quitter)
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To: dontreadthis

Seldom considered.... Let’s, for the sake of argument, assume that the North actually did think that the Southern States were evil. Why then, would they not welcome secession? It’s like begging Apartheid South Africa to join the Union. It makes no sense now, made no sense then... Unless...


26 posted on 12/30/2013 8:45:29 PM PST by HMS Surprise (Chris Christie can STILL go straight to hell)
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To: Sherman Logan

well, you seem to have pretty much debunked his theory with your apparent confident knowledge of history.
the article appealed to me by way of an unstated comparison of Lincoln to King George, and an American Revolution/civil war that grew out of taxation.


27 posted on 12/30/2013 8:51:42 PM PST by dontreadthis
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To: dontreadthis

The entire US budget for 1860 was $60M, which, if I remember correctly was something like 2% of the national economy.

Does that sound like overwhelming taxation that forced those crushed by the rates into opposition? For that matter, does it sound like an out of control massive federal government machine?

OTOH, tax rates in America prior to the Revolution were also very low, but in that case the Patriots were, or claimed they were, fighting for the principle of no taxation without representation.

But of course the South was represented, indeed had held representation and power since the Founding disproportionate to their population.

The article, like everything by Di Lorenzo, uses all kinds of verbal tricks, like claiming people have been taught that slavery was the one and only reason for secession and war.

Well, the actual fact is that I have never known anybody to make that claim. It’s a straw man argument. As with every war, there were many causes for the conflict. But every single one of them could have been compromised except slavery.

Southerners became more and more adamant that it be accepted and celebrated as a positive good (remind you of any modern day cause?), while northerners became increasingly unwilling to allow it to spread. IOW, the minimum the South would accept was far beyond anything the North would agree to, and vice versa. That’s the original recipe for war.


28 posted on 12/30/2013 9:28:59 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: TBP

The Whigs were not statists in the sense we mean it now. They believed that government’s role in the economy was to create the conditions that lead to economic growth and the creation of wealth. Today’s Statists see government’s role as taking from the productive and giving to the unproductive. Quite different from the Whigs, who were interested in helping the productive be more productive. When looking at Federalist-Republican, or Whig-Democrat, remember all of them would be in the GOP today.


29 posted on 12/30/2013 9:32:50 PM PST by gusty
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To: dontreadthis

The concept:

“Stay in our (political) group, or we will kill you. “

Makes no sense whatsoever.


30 posted on 12/30/2013 9:53:59 PM PST by Triple (Socialism denies people the right to the fruits of their labor, and is as abhorrent as slavery)
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To: Triple

It does make sense— when you consider that Russia, England, France, Spain, Mexico,and a few other Imperial states were interested in grabbing any pieces that might have broken away during the split.

This doesn’t get sufficient notice in these discussions.


31 posted on 12/30/2013 10:55:39 PM PST by tsomer
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To: Sherman Logan

A few points:

The economy: an unfair portion of the debt from the Revolution had been put on the South. They were a little touchy on that score. I should also point out that to people who are one bad harvest away from starvation, any tax cuts.

Of the verbal tricks: people are taught that the war was based on slavery. That’s the general view and it has been reinforced in academia and in popular culture. Citing slavery as the primary cause tucks everything away in a tidy box with two morally separate compartments. It lets people believe they’d never do a thing like that. But the problem is that it dehumanizes one and lionizes the other.
It distorts the record and lets people believe they’d never do a thing like that. It’s not history, its ideology.

Finally, I agree that Southerners did become adamant as tensions escalated, but this is unremarkable given the circumstances. Southerners faced the loss of their property and livelihood. There was also Bleeding Kansas, Nat Turner and Harper’s Ferry and the fear that their slaves would eventually outnumber them, acquire knowledge and arms and do what humans do. Paradoxical that, but characteristically human. Then there was the deluge of defamation and exaggeration poured out of the Northern press. It continues today. I think the stubbornness you cite was more a product of the division than the cause of it.


32 posted on 12/30/2013 11:29:46 PM PST by tsomer
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To: JeepersFreepers

Thanks Jeepers for vindicating my shoot from the hip memory on the 50% asset claim.

Since WW2, major population reducing war has been avoided because the degree of reduction has become unfathomable. It kept the cold war cold.

Back then, war was considered the solution more easily. It worked against the British, the Spanish in Texas and the Indians in the plains. So it was considered and implemented.

The post upthread that the south wanted slavery celebrated, not just accepted by the north is an excellent point. The north could have grandfathered in slavery in Alabama, but was adamant that Colorado-Kansas be non slavery. The south had the opportunity to accept new states are without slaves and continued on. There was a workable compromise here.

Sure, slavery is immoral; but so are 600,000 bodies.


33 posted on 12/31/2013 2:52:47 AM PST by cicero2k
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To: tsomer
an unfair portion of the debt from the Revolution had been put on the South.

Where do you get that idea?

Of the verbal tricks: people are taught that the war was based on slavery. That’s the general view and it has been reinforced in academia and in popular culture. Citing slavery as the primary cause tucks everything away in a tidy box with two morally separate compartments. It lets people believe they’d never do a thing like that. But the problem is that it dehumanizes one and lionizes the other. It distorts the record and lets people believe they’d never do a thing like that. It’s not history, its ideology.

The seceding states all said that the conflict was about slavery.

Finally, I agree that Southerners did become adamant as tensions escalated, but this is unremarkable given the circumstances. Southerners faced the loss of their property and livelihood. There was also Bleeding Kansas, Nat Turner and Harper’s Ferry and the fear that their slaves would eventually outnumber them, acquire knowledge and arms and do what humans do.

So you admit that the war was about slavery, in contradiction to your last paragraph.

BTW, slaves did outnumber whites in South Carolina, which is exactly why the rebellion started there.

34 posted on 12/31/2013 4:46:46 AM PST by iowamark (I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy)
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To: dontreadthis

An 11 year old plug by an author for his book? And this is newsworthy how?


35 posted on 12/31/2013 4:51:48 AM PST by DoodleDawg
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To: tsomer
It does make sense— when you consider that Russia, England, France, Spain, Mexico,and a few other Imperial states were interested in grabbing any pieces that might have broken away during the split.

The Confederate Army was the largest best equipped Army in the world, with one exception - the US Army.

The Confederate Army would have made mince meat of any contemporary European Army of the time. Heck if you can imagine transporting the CS Army to Europe, they could have conquered all of Europe at the time.

36 posted on 12/31/2013 5:40:16 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Sherman Logan
Lincoln - nor any US president - could ever allow the South to secede. If the South left the Union, the mouth of the Mississippi would be controlled by a foreign power, a situation that was absolutely intolerable in 1861, as it is today.
37 posted on 12/31/2013 5:40:23 AM PST by quadrant (1o)
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To: tsomer

“It does make sense— when you consider that Russia, England, France, Spain, Mexico,and a few other Imperial states were interested in grabbing any pieces that might have broken away during the split.” - T

Still makes no sense...

Spending the lives of your people to bring a group back into your political association through war, really? (Sounds like a sociopathic ex-boyfriend.)

There is no good reason for this killing. If some other imperial power wanted to attack, and rule over that land, the “North” could have helped repel the invasion. (at a much lessor cost of lives)


38 posted on 12/31/2013 6:48:50 AM PST by Triple (Socialism denies people the right to the fruits of their labor, and is as abhorrent as slavery)
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To: x; BillyBoy

Boy, these neo-confederates. What can you even say?


39 posted on 12/31/2013 6:50:32 AM PST by Impy (RED=COMMUNIST, NOT REPUBLICAN)
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To: tsomer
Good points from "the other side." I generally agree.

The economy: an unfair portion of the debt from the Revolution had been put on the South. They were a little touchy on that score.

I have never read anything contemporaneous where southerners brought this up. It was 70 years in the past in 1860. Foreshortening of history causes 1860 to look closer to 1890 to seem closer in time to use than it did to those living then. It would be like regional resentments of today being based on things that had happened during WWII. It should also be noted that this "unfair" stuf took place under G. Washington's administration, a southerner. Southerners agreed to it in a bargain whereby they got the national capital in the South.

I should also point out that to people who are one bad harvest away from starvation, any tax cuts.

True, but the people in power in the South, the planters, weren't in that position. And I see no reason to believe northern farmers were any better off.

Citing slavery as the primary cause tucks everything away in a tidy box with two morally separate compartments. It lets people believe they’d never do a thing like that. But the problem is that it dehumanizes one and lionizes the other.

I quite agree. The issue was more complex than that. But that doesn't make the basic issue that slavery was the primary (not sole) cause of the war untrue.

Southerners faced the loss of their property and livelihood. There was also Bleeding Kansas, Nat Turner and Harper’s Ferry and the fear that their slaves would eventually outnumber them, acquire knowledge and arms and do what humans do. Paradoxical that, but characteristically human.

Unfortunately, here you undercut your previous claims. Protecting slavery was critically important to them for all these reasons and more.

Then there was the deluge of defamation and exaggeration poured out of the Northern press.

Often matched or exceeded by the vitriol headed North. Defamation and exaggeration was tossed around by both, and the hotheads on both sides eventually succeeded in polarizing the two sides sufficiently that was became almost inevitable. Up to around 1810/1820 both regions were generally in basic agreement on the subject of slavery: It's an evil, but we can't figure out how to get rid of it safely. Such a position lends itself to compromises of various kinds.

By 1860 the South was very nearly unanimous that slavery was a positive good, and should be extended in both time and space. That position cannot be compromised with their earlier belief, much less with the increasing opinion in the North that they didn't care whether slavery was ended safely or not, it needed to be ended whatever the consequences.

40 posted on 12/31/2013 7:07:32 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: central_va

Totally false. The CSA army was not one of the best equipped armies in the world. Read about the Prussian Army’s performance in 1866. The Prussian Army was the best equipped military in the world. The breech loading needle rifle that Prussia fielded would have dominated the battlefield over the CSA’s muzzle loaders. Our military did not field this type of rifle in large numbers until the 1870’s. Experts in the field of military affairs looked to Prussia to learn from. There was a reason that Phil Sheridan was present at Prussian HQ’s during the Franco-Prussian War. Sheridan and Bismark became good friends. Sheridan did advise the Prussians of the concept of Total War.


41 posted on 12/31/2013 7:39:32 AM PST by gusty
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To: dontreadthis
Five weeks later, on April 12, Fort Sumter, a tariff collection point in Charleston Harbor, was bombarded by the Confederates.

As usual, Thomas DiLorenzo is telling lies to support his fantasies. Fort Sumter was never a tariff collection point and he should damn well know it.

42 posted on 12/31/2013 8:18:29 AM PST by Ditto
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To: dontreadthis
very informative, for me at least.

If you read DiLorenzo's crap, you are only being misinformed. The man is not a historian nor is he even interested in attampting to present an honest history of events. He is a radical Liberatarian and will twist, distort and outright lie about any historical event to support his radical ideological views.

43 posted on 12/31/2013 8:30:08 AM PST by Ditto
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To: dontreadthis

dilorenzo is a lost causer with an agenda. His is not what one would consider thoughtful analysis.


44 posted on 12/31/2013 8:46:52 AM PST by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: DBCJR
Where did you get that figure “50% of the South’s assets were slaves”? That’s rubbish.

Here is one source. You can find the entire paper here. http://www.measuringworth.com/slavery.php

Table 4


 

Regional Wealth in 1850 and 1860
Millions of dollars (except per capita)

 

North

South

North

South

 

1850

1850

1860

1860

Total Wealth

$4,474

$2,844

$9,786

$6,332

Value of Slaves

 

$1,286

 

$3,059

Non-slave Wealth

$4,474

$1,559

$9,786

$3,273

 

 

 

 

 

Wealth (free) per capita

$315

$483

$482

$868

Non-slave (free) Wealth per capita

$315

$174

$482

$294

 

 

 

 

 

Source Wright (2006), p. 60.


45 posted on 12/31/2013 9:08:55 AM PST by Ditto
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To: gusty

My point is that if the CSA had succeeded to secede, the foreign invasion (post war) threat would have been non existent. The CSA had more that a million men under arms. All with combat experience. The CSA would have caught its breath and upgraded its weaponry.


46 posted on 12/31/2013 9:18:52 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va

If the South had been successful they would have become a neo-colonial outpost for Great Britain and France. They would have been an agricultural state in a world ruled by the Industrial Revolution. Lets say their strategy in 1864 worked out and Lincoln lost his bid for re-election. Their economy was in a complete shambles by that point. You do know it costs money, real hard currency, to maintain a large military establishment. The Confederacy lacked the economic heft to place it among the world’s great powers in the 19th Century. There would have been no need for for a foreign invasion. The British, French, and Germans would have just bought the place piece by piece.


47 posted on 12/31/2013 9:51:46 AM PST by gusty
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To: gusty
If the South had been successful they would have become a neo-colonial outpost for Great Britain and France.

You sir know nothing of southernrs, good day and get a clue.

48 posted on 12/31/2013 10:12:07 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va

I have plenty of clues, but I suggest you might try reading a little history, not from comic books, but from real books. And good day to you.


49 posted on 12/31/2013 10:21:39 AM PST by gusty
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To: Sherman Logan
Foreshortening of history causes 1860 to look closer to 1890 to seem closer in time to use than it did to those living then.

Should have been "Foreshortening of history causes 1860 to seem closer to 1790 in time to use than it did to those living then."

50 posted on 12/31/2013 12:57:42 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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