Phillip W. Magness

U.S. Economic & Political History

On Tariffs and the American Civil War

| May 26, 2017

A new piece that I wrote on the role of tariffs in the American Civil War era is now available at the Essential Civil War Curriculum, hosted by Virginia Tech. This article is an encyclopedia-style overview of my research on the subject as well as what other scholars have written, but it provides a short […]

Before you start claiming that tariffs caused the Civil War…

| March 12, 2014

It’s an argument we’ve all heard before: tariffs really “caused” the Civil War. The claim is unequivocally in error and was the historical biproduct of a conscious Confederate diplomatic strategy to draw the free trade-oriented Great Britain to its side in the war despite the latter’s antislavery disposition. There is a subtler truth though that […]