Economic Bases of Disunion in South Carolina

Economic Bases of Disunion in South Carolina

Economic Bases of Disunion in South Carolina

Economic Bases of Disunion in South Carolina

Excerpt

For nearly three-quarters of a century it has been commonly taught that the cause of the American Civil War was slavery. No doubt the "peculiar institution" of the South had much to do with the conflict between the two sections. But in this book we wish to call attention to other factors, some of them operating almost from the formation of our government, which also had their full share in producing disunion sentiment. Some of these factors, like slavery itself, were economic, such as the tariff, internal improvements, national bank, decline of southern foreign commerce, failure of southern manufactures, and limitation of southern labor supply. To work out these topics in the South as a whole would be a considerable task; it has therefore seemed better to select a single state for intensive study, and South Carolina was selected because there disunion was a plant of hardy constitution.

Though the economic forces looking toward disunion in South Carolina were in some respects typical of the South as a whole, there were important local variations. Louisiana, for example, was not strongly anti-tariff because her sugar interests usually received more or less protection. Kentucky was a strong tariff state, partly because of the influence of Henry Clay and partly because hemp was a protected article. The Mississippi Valley generally favored the internal improvements system because of its own special needs. Probably Arkansas and Tennessee, which had no seaports, were not greatly interested in the recovery of direct trade with Europe. Louisiana, with her great port of New Orleans, was certainly not interested in developing the western rail-

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