Philadelphia Convention lecture–tariff question

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    Dr. Gutzman,

    Just a quick question on the tariff issue presented in this lecture. Today, it’s common for manufacturers to support tariffs as a means of protection. I’d think that the southerners would have favored tariffs in order to insulate themselves from foreign competition, and vice versa for the northerners. Am I misunderstanding the nature of the tariffs? At one point you’d mentioned shipping fees. Were northerners forcing southerners to use American shipping?


    George Mason called in the Philadelphia Convention for a two-thirds vote to be required to levy a tariff. His contention was that otherwise, the 8-5 northern majority of states would mean that the North could use the tariff power to force the South to pay higher shipping charges. He lost.

    As the exporting/importing section, tariffs would fall mostly on the South and have negative repercussions on the export business — which too would hurt the South. As Mason had forecast, this became a major sectional issue virtually from the minute the Constitution was implemented.

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