Friday, March 30, 2018

Trump’s Aluminum Tariff: A Teachable Moment


Tariff 1824, John Randolph Of Roanoke

President Trump’s proposed ten-percent tariff on refined aluminum yields a teachable moment for Southern history students. Historical analysis of the industry reveals an echo of the Northern tariff policies that angered Southerners during much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when the South was generally a raw materials exporter and feedstock supplier to Northern manufacturers.

Tariffs during the era usually protected the Northern factories against competition from imports. Finished cotton goods made in New England, for example, benefitted from high tariff walls against imports of British finished goods. In contrast, a hypothetical raw cotton tariff could not benefit Southern cotton farmers because they were already the World’s low cost producers. In other words, a raw cotton tariff could not have blocked any imports since the imports were already negligible because of the South’s intrinsic cost advantage.


  1. Continuing efforts were made to negotiate a peaceful separation. Virginia sent three commissioners to meet with Lincoln shortly prior to Lincoln's attempt to resupply Fort Sumter, which led to the bombardment of Fort Sumter and the outbreak of the War. ... Lincoln equivocated with the commissioners. However, his greatest concern voiced to them was, "What about my tariff?" This shows once again Lincoln's committment to the huge vested industrial and financial interests of the North. The war in Lincoln's mind had to be fought to establish the supremacy of that financial oligarchy. The tariff under Lincoln was instated with a vigor and was raised to unparalleled heights. This economic policy of anti-Southern tariffs and economic exploitation of the South was to be continued for almost eighty years after the war and was only abandoned in the face of the crisis of World War II. --- Sam Dickson, "Shattering the Icon of Abraham Lincoln"
    Just thinking of all the tariffs (taxes) we the real
    American people are subjected to - not the sponges.

    1. Just thinking of all the tariffs (taxes) we the real American people are subjected to - not the sponges.



      23. " Tarif"

      When the Saracens and Moors, in the 8th century invaded and devastated the rich and beautiful provinces of Spain, they were commanded by a general whose name was Tarif, who had but one eye (See Anquetil's Universal History) - Our Tariff must be a descendant of this infamous destroyer, and inherits his defect of having but one eye, as it can see but one interest, and in one direction."
      (I found the above quote on microfilm at the Tarboro Library, but I either failed to write down the source, or there was none. Also, I failed to write down the date, but remember that it was well before the War, 1823/1833 sticks in my mind. BT)