Economic Independence - South


(a)        “We will be free from your close nation”        Speech of John H. Reagan of Texas to Congress, January 15 1861



You are not content with the vast millions of tribute we pay annually under the operation of our revenue law, or navigation laws, your fishing bounties, and by making your people our manufacturers, our merchant, our shippers. You are not satisfied with the vast tribute we pay you to build up your great cities, your railroads, your canals. You are not satisfied with the millions of tribute we have been paying you on account of the balance of exchange which you hold against us. You are not satisfied that we the South are almost reduced to the condition of overseas for northern capitalists. You are not satisfied with all this; but you must wage a relentless crusade against our rights and institutions..


We do not intend that you shall reduce us to such a condition. But I can tell you what your folly and injustice will compel us to do. It will compel us to be free from your domination, and more self-reliant than we have been. It will compel us to assert and maintain our separate independence. It will compel us to manufacture ourselves, to build up our own commerce, our own great cities, our own railroads and canals; and to use the tribute money we now pay you for these things for the support of a government which will be friendly to all our interests, hostile to none of them.


(b)        “They dream that the centres of trade can be changed from Northern to Southern Ports” Boston Transcript, March 18 1861



Alleged grievances in regard to slavery were originally the causes for the separation of the cotton States; but the mask has been thrown off, and it is apparent that the people of the principal seceding States are now for commercial independence. They dream that the centres of traffic can be changed from Northern or Southern ports. The merchants of New Orleans, Charleston and Savannah are possessed with the idea that New York, Boston and Philadelphia may be shorn, in the future, of their mercantile greatness, by a revenue system verging upon free trade. If the Southern Confederation is allowed to carry out policy by which only nominal duty is laid upon imports, no doubt the business of the chief Northern cities will be seriously injured thereby.


The difference is so great between thee tariff of the Union and that of Confederate States, that the entire Northwest must find it to their advantage to purchase their imported goods at New Orleans rather than at New York. In addition to this, the manufacturing interest of the country will suffer  from the increased importations resulting from low duties … The … [government] would be false to all of its obligations, if this state of things were not provided against.