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02.07.12 Adams, Charles, When in the Course of Human Events, Arguing the Case for Southern Secession, published in 2,000 by Rowman & Littlefield.

Notes About the Author.

Charles Adams is considered “the world’s leading scholar on the history of taxation.  Notable books by his pen are, For Good and Evil, the Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization (1993), Those Dirty Rotten Taxes: the Tax Revolts that Build America (1998), and Fight, Flight, and Fraud: The Story of Taxation (1982).  Formerly a lecturer at the University of California at Los Angeles, he is presently an independent scholar and tax consultant with the Cato Institute in Washington, D. C.


Charles Adams presents, in 14 concise chapters occupying 221 pages, fourteen snapshots that help us understand what caused and sustained the horrific War Between the States.  And through his analysis and presentation of pertinent facts, for this is a factual account by a factual man, the readers gains important understanding, especially regarding the economic factors that spurred the commercial and industrial leaders of the northern States avoid political compromise and then to press for the Federal Invasion of the Confederacy.  Page 27 is perhaps the most important of the 221. 

“The high tariff in the North compelled the Southern states to pay tribute to the North, either in taxes to fatten Republican coffers or in the inflated prices that had to be paid for Northern goods.  Besides being unfair, this violated the uniformity command of the Constitution by having the South pay an undue proportion of the national revenue, which was expended more in the North than in the South: when some of the compromise tariffs of the 1830s and 1840s are analyzed, the total revenue was around $107.5 million, with the South paying about $90 million and the North $17.5 million.  These are round numbers but they also coincide with export numbers.  In 1860, total exports from the South totaled $214 million, and from the North around $47 million.  In both instances the percentage for the South (taxes and exports) was approximately 87 percent, and 17 percent for the North.  To add further salt to the wounds of the South on matters of revenue, fishing bounties for  New Englanders were approximately $13 million, paid from the national Treasury, hence 83 percent from the South.  And with a monopoly on shipping from Southern ports, the South paid Northern shipping — $36 million.  So the numbers show that the South’s claim to be, in effect, paying tribute to the North has a factual basis.”

And these commercial and industrial men of the Northern states, became insistent on the subjugation of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri followed by an invasion of the Confederacy when they came to understand that the tariff structure of the new nation would be almost free trade, making life for them much more difficult.  In Charles Adams’ words, “And a low Southern tariff, a free port, was a serious threat to Northern commerce on top of everything else.”

Availability of this Book.

This book is readily available.