New England Secession Talks in the Jefferson Era?

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    According to Professor DiLorenzo’s The Real Lincoln, the New England states wanted to secede because they believed that they were paying for the bulk of the government’s expenses without receiving commensurate benefits. Can you please elaborate on this? Why did they end up not seceding?

    Also, why did the South have the same complaint in the mid-1830s?

    Thanks for your help!


    The South had that complaint in the 1830s because it was true: tariffs fell mainly on the exporting section: the South. Between 2/3 and 90% of tariff revenue was connected at southern ports, chiefly Charleston and New Orleans.

    John Taylor of Caroline (R-VA) said he was approached by very prominent northern senators (one a Boston-born New Yorker, one from Connecticut) about breaking up the Union. The idea remained alive in the mind of at least one of them, Massachusetts’ Timothy Pickering, well into the 19th century. Eventually Gouverneur Morris, the man who actually wrote the Constitution, supported a partition of the country too. Jeffersonians’ electoral success, helped by the poor timing of the Hartford Convention, seems to have doomed the cause to failure.


    Just piggybacking on Dr. Gutzman, George Mason at the Phil. Convention in 1787 advocated a 2/3 majority for any potential “navigation” legislation because he understood that these laws would mainly hurt the South while benefiting the North. Everyone knew that the two sections were different even at the time of the War for Independence. That is why the Union was constructed for “general purposes” only. Under this idea, the South and the North would be free from the meddling of the other section.

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