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Informing Hawaii's voters

Another Civil War False Tariff History

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Recently by Thomas DiLorenzo: The Latest New York Times Nonsense About Lincoln

The only thing worse than a historian who calls himself a "Lincoln scholar" is a sociologist who does the same. This truth was on display recently in a January 9 Washington Post article entitled "Five Myths about Why the South Seceded" by one James W. Loewen.

In discussing the role of federal tariff policy in precipitating the War to Prevent Southern Independence Loewen is either grossly ignorant, or he is dishonest. He begins by referring to the 1828 Tariff of Abominations, which led to South Carolina’s Ordinance of Nullification, whereby the state rightly condemned the 48 percent average tariff rate as a blatant act of plunder (mostly at the South’s expense) and refused to collect it at Charleston Harbor. Loewen writes that "when, after South Carolina demanded the right to nullify federal laws or secede to protest, President Andrew Jackson threatened force." That much is true. "No state joined the movement, and South Carolina backed down," Loewen then writes. This is all false. It is not true that "no state joined the movement." As historian Chauncy Boucher wrote in The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama joined South Carolina in publicly denouncing the Tariff of Abominations, while the Yankee bastions of Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Indiana, and New York responded with their own resolutions in support of political plunder through extortionate tariff rates.

Nor is it true to say that "South Carolina backed down." South Carolina and the Jackson administration reached a compromise in 1833: Jackson "backed down" by not following through with his threats to use force to collect the tariff, and South Carolina agreed to collect tariffs at a much lower rate. Jackson "backed down" as much (or more) as South Carolina did, but the Official Court Historian’s History of the War, as expressed by Loewen, holds that only South Carolina retreated. The reason for this distortion of history is to spread the lie that tax protesters such as the South Carolina nullifiers, or the Whiskey Rebels of an earlier generation, have never successfully challenged the federal government’s taxing "authority." But of course they have succeeded; The Whiskey Rebels ended up not paying the federal whisky tax, and the Tariff of Abominations was sharply reduced over a ten-year period.

Loewen next spreads an egregious falsehood about the tariff: "Tariffs were not an issue in 1860, and Southern states said nothing about them," he writes. "Why would they? Southerners had written the tariff of 1857, under which the nation was functioning. Its rates were lower than at any point since 1816." Every bit of this narrative is false.

Tariffs certainly were an issue in 1860. Lincoln’s official campaign poster featured mug shots of himself and vice presidential candidate Hannibal Hamlin, above the campaign slogan, "Protection for Home Industry." (That is, high tariff rates to "protect home industry" from international competition). In a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ("Steeltown, U.S.A."), a hotbed of protectionist sentiment, Lincoln announced that no other issue was as important as raising the tariff rate. It is well known that Lincoln made skillful use of his lifelong protectionist credentials to win the support of the Pennsylvania delegation at the Republican convention of 1860, and he did sign ten tariff-increasing bills while in office. When he announced a naval blockade of the Southern ports during the first months of the war, he gave only one reason for the blockade: tariff collection.

As I have written numerous times, in his first inaugural address Lincoln announced that it was his duty "to collect the duties and imposts," and then threatened "force," "invasion" and "bloodshed" (his exact words) in any state that refused to collect the federal tariff, the average rate of which had just been doubled two days earlier. He was not going to "back down" to tax protesters in South Carolina or anywhere else, as Andrew Jackson had done.

The most egregious falsehood spread by Loewen is to say that the tariff that was in existence in 1860 was the 1857 tariff rate, which was in fact the lowest tariff rate of the entire nineteenth century. In his famous Tariff History of the United States economist Frank Taussig called the 1857 tariff the high water mark of free trade during that century. The Big Lie here is that Loewen makes no mention at all of the fact that the notorious Morrill Tariff, which more than doubled the average tariff rate (from 15% to 32.6% initially), was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives during the 1859–60 session of Congress, and was the cornerstone of the Republican Party’s economic policy. It then passed the U.S. Senate, and was signed into law by President James Buchanan on March 2, 1861, two days before Lincoln’s inauguration, where he threatened war on any state that failed to collect the new tax. At the time, the tariff accounted for at least 90 percent of all federal tax revenues. The Morrill Tariff therefore represented a more than doubling of the rate of federal taxation!

This threat to use "force" and "invasion" against sovereign states, by the way, was a threat to commit treason. Article 3, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution defines treason as follows: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort" (emphasis added). Lincoln followed through with his threat; his invasion of the Southern states was the very definition of treason under the Constitution.

The words "Morrill Tariff" do not appear anywhere in Loewen’s Washington Post article despite the fact that he portrays himself as some kind of "Keeper of The Truth" regarding "Civil War" history. (And where were the Washington Post’s "fact checkers?!) It was the Morrill Tariff that Lincoln referred to in his first inaugural address, not the much lower 1857 tariff, as Loewen falsely claims.

Abraham Lincoln was not the only American president who believed that the tariff was an important political issue in 1860. Contrary to Loewen’s false claims, Jefferson Davis, like Lincoln, highlighted the tariff issue in his February 18, 1861 inaugural address, delivered in Montgomery, Alabama (From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, vol. 7, pp. 45–51). After announcing that the Confederate government was "anxious to cultivate peace and commerce with all nations" Davis said the following:

An agricultural people, whose chief interest is the export of a commodity required in every manufacturing country, our true policy is peace, and the freest trade, which our necessities will permit. It is alike our interest, and that of all those to whom we would sell and from whom we would buy, that there should be the fewest practicable restrictions upon the interchange of commodities. There can be but little rivalry between ours and any manufacturing or navigating community, such as the Northeastern States of the American Union. It must follow, therefore, that a mutual interest would invite good will and kind offices. If, however, passion or the lust of dominion should cloud the judgment or inflame the ambition of those States, we must prepare to meet the emergency . . .

Thus, Loewen’s statement that the Southern states said "nothing" about tariff policy is unequivocally false. Jefferson Davis proclaimed here that the economy of the Confederacy would be based on free trade. Indeed, the Confederate Constitution of 1861 outlawed protectionist tariffs altogether, and only allowed for a modest "revenue tariff."

When Davis spoke of a "passion or the lust for dominion," he was referring to the constant attempts, for some seventy years, of the Northern Whig and Republican parties to plunder the South with the instrument of protectionist tariffs, as was attempted with the 1828 Tariff of Abominations. In other words, he declared here that, in his opinion, Lincoln was deadly serious (pun intended) about enforcing the newly-doubled rate of federal tariff taxation with a military invasion of the Southern states, and was preparing for war as a result. Contrary to Loewen’s ignorant diatribe, both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis announced to the world in 1861 that tariff policy was indeed a paramount political issue: In their respective inaugural addresses, Lincoln threatened "invasion" of any state(s) that failed to collect his tariff, while Davis promised to defend against any such invasion.

Before the war, Northern newspapers associated with the Republican Party were editorializing in favor of naval bombardments of the Southern ports because they knew that the South was adopting free trade, while the North was moving in the direction of a 50% average tariff rate (which did in fact exist, more or less, from 1863 to 1913, when the federal income tax was adopted). These Republican party propagandists correctly understood that much of the trade of the world would enter the U.S. through Southern ports under such a scenario. Rather than adopting reasonable tariff rates themselves, they agitated for war on the South.

The tariff controversy was not the only cause of the war, and I have never argued that it was (despite lies to the contrary told about me by such people as historian Jeffrey Hummel). But it was obviously an important cause of the decades-long conflict between North and South.

The rest of Loewen’s Washington Post article is about as accurate as his uninformed rantings about tariff policy. This was the Post’s second attempt to "correct the record" of the "Civil War," which began 150 years ago this year, in the first nine days of 2011. The government’s company newspaper is apparently terrified that the public will get wind of the truth and begin questioning the foundational myth of the federal Leviathan state.

January 18, 2011

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2011 by

Elderly Women Humiliated by Canadian Airport Security

Now the Canadians are doing it!

WikiLeaks to Reveal Secret Bank Accounts

Politicians, celebrities and corporations soon to have their Swiss secret accounts made public. They include 2,000 high-net-worth individuals and corporations, along with 40 politicians. They are said to be using secrecy to avoid paying taxes.

Some names: Apple, Safeway, FedEx, McDonald's.

Helen Thomas: Can't Say Anything against Israel

Hawaii's Undemocratic Legislature

by Charles Djou

Charles Djou (R) was the Congressman from Hawaii District 1 during most of 2010, winning a special election early in the year when Neil Abercrombie (D) resigned to run for governor, an office that he won in November 2010. Djou defeated Democrats Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case in the special election, but later lost in the general election to Colleen Hanabusa.

Between the November election and the start of the new Legislature, Hawaii residents have been treated to what is becoming a biennial circus over selection of leadership of the state House. Democrat Rep. Calvin Say has struggled with "dissident" Democrats over the speaker's gavel for years.
This spectacle is unseemly, and the wrong way to lead a democracy.

Nationally and in almost any other state in our country, the leadership of the legislature is determined by the voters, not insiders. Voters pick their representatives and, by implication, the caucus that holds majority control. In 2010, voters clearly understood that if the Democrats retained power in the U.S. House, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi would be the speaker. If the Republicans won a majority, Ohio Rep. John Boehner would become speaker. On election day the GOP captured a majority and Boehner is now speaker of the U.S. House.

In Hawaii, however, our one-party rule system upends voter control. Rather than having the people decide the leadership, as is done virtually everywhere else in the United States, the Hawaii House speaker's gavel and the associated committee chairmanships are decided by insider deals cut behind closed doors amongst important "power brokers."

No one should be naive enough to think this wheeling-and-dealing is limited to the elected state representatives themselves, as key special-interest groups are heavily involved in selecting the speaker of the state House and the associated chairmanships of important committees.

This system of allowing a select few, the proverbial "old boy network" to select our Legislature's leadership, with almost no public scrutiny, maximizes the power of special interests at the expense of the public's general interest. This is not the way to run a democracy.

When I served in the state House, before my tenure in the City Council and in the U.S. Congress, I found Rep. Say generally reasonable -- but I take no position on whether he should remain the speaker. I firmly object, however, to the insider manipulation and horse trading that occurs in Hawaii in selecting the leadership of the Legislature.

The people of Hawaii deserve better, but we will only get a better government when Hawaii achieves a real two-party democracy.

On Gun Control and Violence

by Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)

The terrible violence in Arizona last weekend prompted much national discussion on many issues. All Americans are united in their sympathies for the victims and their families. All wonder what could motivate such a horrible act. However, some have attempted to use this tragedy to discredit philosophical adversaries or score political points. This sort of opportunism is simply despicable.

We are fortunate to live in a society where violence is universally denounced. Not one public official or commentator has attempted to justify this reprehensible act, yet the newspapers, Internet and airwaves are full of people trying to claim it was somehow motivated by someone else’s political rhetoric. Most disturbing are the calls to use government power to censor certain forms of speech, and even outlaw certain types of criticism of public officials. This was the completely apolitical act of a violent and disturbed man. How sad that the attempted murder of the Congresswoman who had just read the First Amendment on the House floor would be used in efforts to chill free speech! Perhaps some would feel safer if the Alien and Sedition Acts were reinstated.

Also troubling are the renewed calls for stricter gun control laws, and for government to “do something” to somehow prevent similar incidents in the future. This always seems to be the knee jerk reaction to any crime committed with a gun. Nonsensical proposals to outlaw guns around federal officials and install bulletproof barriers in the congressional gallery only reinforce the growing perception that politicians view their own lives as far more important than the lives of ordinary citizens. Politicians and a complicit media have conditioned many citizens to view government as our protector, leading to more demands for government action whenever tragedies occur. But this impulse is at odds with the best American traditions of self-reliance and individualism, and it also leads to bad laws and the loss of liberty.

Remember — liberty only has meaning if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and more government security is demanded. Government cannot make us safe by mandating security any more than it can make us prosperous by decreeing an end to poverty.

We need to reaffirm the core American value of individual responsibility. Consider the young man who had the courage to tackle the shooter and prevent further carnage because he himself had a concealed weapon. Without that gun, he could have been yet another sitting duck. When peaceful citizens are armed, they at least have a chance against armed criminals.

Advocates of gun control would urge us to leave our safety to law enforcement, but eyewitness reports indicate it took police as much as 20 minutes to arrive on the scene that day! Since police cannot be everywhere all of the time, a large part of our personal safety depends on our ability to defend ourselves.

Our constitutional right to bear arms does not create a society without risks of violent crime, and neither would the strictest gun control laws. Guns and violence are a fact of life. The question is whether it is preferable to be defenseless while waiting for the police, or to have the option to arm yourself. We certainly know criminals prefer the former.

News Collection Sunday, January 16, 2011

Student Loan Debt Slaves [Liberty Insight]

Grandmother dies from swine flu soon after receiving swine flu vaccine [Natural News]

Study reveals top ten violence-inducing prescription drugs [Natural News]

UH sees research as economic engine [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

Is Lockheed Martin Shadowing You? [CBS News}

Gerald Celente: The Establishment is Running Out of Schemes [LewRockwell]

Lawmaker's new proposal would hit feds with charges [WorldNetDaily]

A Summary of The Death Threats Against Obama & Other Democrats So Far [YouTube] Rachel Maddow

Pomegranate and Blueberry Juice Consumer Shopping Guide [Natural News]

Mililani multitrack students are getting shafted — again [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

Plenty of strong swimmers in job pool [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

Groups fear damage to land by Lanai, Molokai wind farms [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

Bit by Bit, a Mexican Police Force Is Eradicated [The New York Times]

Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Anti-First Amendment and Second Amendment Agenda Exposed in Opeds on Arizona Shooting [Hawaii Reporter]

Some Congressional lawmakers planning to carry weapons [MSNBC]

Lawmakers ban picketing near Tucson funerals [The Washington Post]

Alleged shooter's written notes point to plans [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

Former state worker admits stealing $1,200 [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

Senators recommend halt to opening-day invocations [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

Securing data will be costly, UH says [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

Hawaii schools earn C-plus [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

Oahu loads up with guns [Honolulu Star-Advertiser]

Who Says There's No Inflation? Grocery Shoppers Think Otherwise [Rasmussen Reports]

Many Favor Cutting Pay, Benefits of State Employees [Rasmussen Reports]

75% Think Health Care Law May Cost More Than Estimated [Rasmussen Reports]

Ivy League Morons

An Ivy League professor, whose parents were originally from China, has written in the Wall Street Journal on why Chinese excel academically and how she brought up her two high-achieving daughters.

Zahir Ebrahim, who graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, counters that there are too many "morons" in Ivy League circles.

Zahir himself is originally from Asia, in his case from Pakistan.

by Zahir Ebrahim

The Saturday Essay in the WSJ of January 8, 2011, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior," caught my attention on a rebel website. The story of the high achieving Chinese immigrant family seeking and living their "American Dream" had as of this writing received 5,471 public comments at the WSJ website. Both the essay and the public comments are rather telling of the making of the “Good American,” just like their counterpart, the “Good German,” in not too distant a memory. I wrote the following letter to Amy Chua, whose impressive bio from Yale university faculty website is as follows:

Read more . . . [Project Humanbeingsfirst]

To Shoot or Not to Shoot

Praise for Lee and Jackson

Civil War Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were not racists who were fighting for the wrong side, writes Chuck Baldwin. Instead, they were true patriots, lovers of liberty and freedom, who were defending their country from an unconstitutional invasion from the north.

by Chuck Baldwin

Dr. Baldwin is a Baptist minister in Kila, Montana. He ran in 2008 for U.S. President as the Constitution Party candidate and was endorsed by Congressman Ron Paul (TX) after Paul stepped down as a 2008 Republican presidential candidate.

January is often referred to as “Generals Month” since no less than four famous Confederate Generals claimed January as their birth month: James Longstreet (Jan. 8, 1821), Robert E. Lee (Jan. 19, 1807), Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (Jan. 21, 1824), and George Pickett (Jan. 28, 1825). Two of these men, Lee and Jackson, are particularly noteworthy.

Without question, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were two of the greatest military leaders of all time. Even more, many military historians regard the Lee and Jackson tandem as perhaps the greatest battlefield duo in the history of warfare. If Jackson had survived the battle of Chancellorsville, it is very possible that the South would have prevailed at Gettysburg and perhaps would even have won the War Between the States.

In fact, it was Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the British armies in the early twentieth century, who said, “In my opinion, Stonewall Jackson was one of the greatest natural military geniuses the world ever saw. I will go even further than that–as a campaigner in the field, he never had a superior. In some respects, I doubt whether he ever had an equal.”

While the strategies and circumstances of the War of Northern Aggression can (and will) be debated by professionals and laymen alike, one fact is undeniable: Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson were two of the finest Christian gentlemen this country has ever produced. Both their character and their conduct were beyond reproach.

Unlike his northern counterpart, Ulysses S. Grant, General Lee never sanctioned or condoned slavery. Upon inheriting slaves from his deceased father-in-law, Lee freed them. And according to historians, Jackson enjoyed a familial relationship with those few slaves that were in his home. In addition, unlike Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant, there is no record of either Lee or Jackson ever speaking disparagingly of the black race.

As those who are familiar with history know, General Grant and his wife held personal slaves before and during the War Between the States, and, contrary to popular opinion, even Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation did not free the slaves of the North. They were not freed until the Thirteenth Amendment was passed after the conclusion of the war. Grant’s excuse for not freeing his slaves was that “good help is so hard to come by these days.”

Furthermore, it is well established that Jackson regularly conducted a Sunday School class for black children. This was a ministry he took very seriously. As a result, he was dearly loved and appreciated by the children and their parents.

In addition, both Jackson and Lee emphatically supported the abolition of slavery. In fact, Lee called slavery “a moral and political evil.” He also said “the best men in the South” opposed it and welcomed its demise. Jackson said he wished to see “the shackles struck from every slave.”

To think that Lee and Jackson (and the vast majority of Confederate soldiers) would fight and die to preserve an institution they considered evil and abhorrent–and that they were already working to dismantle–is the height of absurdity. It is equally repugnant to impugn and denigrate the memory of these remarkable Christian gentlemen.

In fact, after refusing Abraham Lincoln’s offer to command the Union Army in 1861, Robert E. Lee wrote to his sister on April 20 of that year to explain his decision. In the letter he wrote, “With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the army and save in defense of my native state, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed . . .”

Lee’s decision to resign his commission with the Union Army must have been the most difficult decision of his life. Remember that Lee’s direct ancestors had fought in America’s War For Independence. His father, “Light Horse Harry” Henry Lee, was a Revolutionary War hero, Governor of Virginia, and member of Congress. In addition, members of his family were signatories to the Declaration of Independence.

Remember, too, that not only did Robert E. Lee graduate from West Point “at the head of his class” (according to Benjamin Hallowell), he is yet today one of only six cadets to graduate from that prestigious academy without a single demerit.

However, Lee knew that Lincoln’s decision to invade the South in order to prevent its secession was both immoral and unconstitutional. As a man of honor and integrity, the only thing Lee could do was that which his father had done: fight for freedom and independence. And that is exactly what he did.

Instead of allowing a politically correct culture to sully the memory of Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson, all Americans should hold them in a place of highest honor and respect. Anything less is a disservice to history and a disgrace to the principles of truth and integrity.

Accordingly, it was more than appropriate that the late President Gerald Ford, on August 5, 1975, signed Senate Joint Resolution 23, “restoring posthumously the long overdue, full rights of citizenship to General Robert E. Lee.” According to President Ford, “This legislation corrects a 110-year oversight of American history.” He further said, “General Lee’s character has been an example to succeeding generations . . .”

The significance of the lives of Generals Lee and Jackson cannot be overvalued. While the character and influence of most of us will barely be remembered two hundred days after our departure, the sterling character of these men has endured for two hundred years. What a shame that so many of America’s youth are being robbed of knowing and studying the virtue and integrity of the great General Robert E. Lee and General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.

Furthermore, it is no hyperbole to say that the confederated, constitutional republic so ably declared by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence of 1776 and codified into statute by the U.S. Constitution of 1787 was, for the most part, expunged at the Appomattox Court House in 1865. After all, it was (and is) the responsibility of the states to be the ultimate vanguard of liberty. Without a tenacious, unrelenting defense of liberty by the sovereign states, we are reduced to ever-burgeoning oppression–which is exactly what we see happening today.

Thankfully, freedom’s heartbeat is still felt among at least a few states. State sovereignty resolutions (proposed in over 30 states), Firearms Freedom acts (passed in 2 states–Montana and Tennessee–and being proposed in at least 12 other states), and official letters (Montana), statements (Texas Governor Rick Perry), and resolutions (Georgia and Montana) threatening secession have already taken place.

Yes, freedom-loving Americans in this generation may need to awaken to the prospect that–in order for freedom to survive–secession may, once again, be in order. One thing is for sure: any State that will not protect and defend their citizens’ right to keep and bear arms cannot be counted on to do diddlysquat to maintain essential freedom. It is time for people to start deciding whether they want to live free or not–and if they do, to seriously consider relocating to states that yet have a heartbeat for liberty.

I will say it straight out: any State that will not protect your right to keep and bear arms is a tyrannical State! And if it is obvious that the freedom-loving citizens of that State are powerless to change it via the ballot box, they should leave the State to its slaves and seek a land of liberty.

I, for one, am thankful for the example and legacy of men such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. They were the spiritual soul mates of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. They were men that loved freedom; they were men that loved federalism and constitutional government; and they were men of courage and understanding. They understood that, sometimes, political separation is the only way that freedom can survive. Long live the spirit of Washington, Jefferson, Lee, and Jackson!

P.S. I am happy to announce to people in and around the Flathead Valley of Northwest Montana that the first public worship service of the LIBERTY FELLOWSHIP will take place this Sunday, January 16, 2011, at the Red Lion Hotel Conference Center located at 20 N. Main Street/US Hwy. 93 (just one block south of US Hwy. 2) in downtown Kalispell. The service will start at 2pm MDT. We also are hoping to have everything in place to livestream my message. For more information regarding LIBERTY FELLOWSHIP, or to watch the livestream, go to:

P.S.S. To read my brief but descriptive interview with a Montana newspaper regarding our move to Montana and the advent of LIBERTY FELLOWSHIP, go to:

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