The other day, a neo-Confederate tried to justify secession by claiming that in 1860 the southern states paid 87% of tariffs. While his nonsensical arguments are not worth repeating, here are my email rebuttals:
"You state that the South paid 87% of tariffs in 1860, but the actual figure was nearly 0%.
Tariffs are federal taxes on imports. In 1860, the South imported almost nothing except trifles for the plantation elite.
In 1860, almost all the importing was done by the industrial, wealthy North, while the agrarian, poor South imported almost nothing.
By 1860, the population of the South was much poorer than the population of the North and the population of the South was much less than the population of the North, yet you think the South was doing 87% of the importing. That is absurd! Moreover, a third of southerners at the time were slaves, who imported nothing.
Again, by 1860, the South paid almost nothing in tariffs."
Michael Zak is a popular speaker to Republican organizations around the country. Back to Basics for the Republican Party is his acclaimed history of the GOP, cited by Clarence Thomas in a Supreme Court decision. He is also the author of the 2005 Republican Freedom Calendar. His Grand Old Partisan website celebrates more than fifteen decades of Republican heroes and heroics. See www.grandoldpartisan.com and @Michael_Zak for more information.