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Brigadier General Robert Bullock                             
Camp 301, Florida

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"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history,
whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small
elite." - Thomas Jefferson
Camp 501 Georgia
                                                         Morrill Tariffs
Most people in America believe the Civil War was about slavery, well the real truth is it
was about money! I've always said it was about taxation and land acquisition so let’s look
at it from another angle so it all makes sense. As there was no federal income tax, the
federal government depended on indirect taxes as its primary sources of revenue. Most
duties, imposts, and excises' were collected at ports throughout the United States; ports
monitored by Federal garrisons. For thirty years from 1830 to 1860 the tariffs amounted
to about eighty-four percent of federal revenues, but during the 1850s tariffs amounted to
ninety percent of federal revenue. As the ports in the South had the most traffic, they paid
seventy-five percent of all tariffs in 1859.

Let me explain the difference between the North and South’s concerns. The Industrialist
North wanted to protect their industries from foreign imports and exports by placing a
tariff on those commodities. This was called protectionism. The South wanted Fair Trade
(little or no taxes,) because the Southern economy was largely agricultural and geared to
exporting a large portion of its cotton and tobacco crops to Europe.

In 1860 Representative Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont drafted a bill called the Morrill
Tariff. It placed excessive taxes or tariffs on Southern imported and exported
commodities. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Morrill tariff in the 1859-
1860 sessions, and the US Congress passed it on March 2, 1861. Passage of the bill was
possible because many low-tariff Southerners had left Congress after their states declared
their secession. Two additional tariffs sponsored by Morrill, each one higher, were passed
during Abraham Lincoln's administration to raise urgently needed revenue during the Civil

President James Buchanan, (D), from Pennsylvania signed it into law to protect the steel
industry in Pennsylvania just two days before Abraham Lincoln’s (R) inauguration. The
bill immediately raised the average tariff rate from about 15 percent to 37.5 percent. The
unjust taxation that enriched Northern manufacturing states and exploited the agricultural
South grew even more lopsided when Lincoln’s second tariff increase would increase the
average rate to 47.06 percent for southern ports. At that time the import-dependent South
was paying as much as 80 percent of the tariff, while most of the revenues were being
spent in the North. The South was being plundered by the tax system and wanted out!