Six Degrees Of Southern Separation

Six Degrees Of Southern Separation

Chapter 1: Tariffs

Have you ever played Six Degrees of Separation or in some cases Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? It's when someone gives you the name of two actors or actresses, or Kevin Bacon and an actor/actress, and you try to connect them with their movies in six or fewer moves. For example, Kevin Bacon and Gary Oldman.

Gary Oldman was recently in The Darkest Hour with Ben Mendelsohn, who was in A Place Beyond the Pines with Ryan Gosling, who was in Crazy, Stupid, Love with Kevin Bacon.The same game can be played using slavery and the alternative causes that led to Southern secession and ultimately the Civil War.

One may think that discussing the causes of the Civil War is overdone and surely people know by now or more likely, they don’t care anymore. I would agree, but I follow the Civil War Trust on Facebook. The Civil War Trust posts various articles and quotes pertaining to the Civil War, and one of my favorite things to do is to read the comment section. Even in 2018, people fervently argue that slavery was not the cause of the Civil War, and if they admit that it was, they claim it was not the main cause.

They often post articles found in the dark depths of the internet, which list the various other reasons the Southern states seceded, hoping to end the slavery argument. In a series of articles, I intend on listing the alternate reasons that these Southern sympathizers argue and tie them back to slavery in six or less moves. To keep you interested, I will begin with the most boring cause, tariffs.

In an article titled The Ten Causes of the War Between the States, James W. King lists tariffs as the number one reason for secession. Keep in mind, King’s article is on the website Confederate American Pride, so his opinions may be slightly opinionated towards the South. King argues that the Civil War was inevitable. In fact, he states that a Civil War almost occurred between 1828 and 1832 over a tariff. This statement is correct.

On May 19, 1828, during John Quincy Adams’ presidency, Congress passed a protective tariff designed to help American industry, which was primarily based out of the North. Previously, cheap imported goods were putting northern industries out of business, so the tariff taxed 92% of imports by 32%. Opponents of the tariff, mostly Southerners, called the tariff, the Tariff of Abomination. Southerners detested the tariff because they relied on the imports to supply goods they didn’t produce themselves. Also, the tax on British imports made it harder for the British to buy Southern cotton, which was the South’s primary export. Opposition against the tariff culminated during Andrew Jackson’s presidency with the Nullification Crisis.

In 1832, Jackson signed into law the tariff of 1832, which lowered the tariff of 1828. Although this tariff received more support from the South than the 1828 tariff, the concessions were not enough for South Carolina. On November 4, 1832, South Carolina, led by Jackson’s own vice president, John C. Calhoun, passed an Ordinance of Nullification, which claimed that the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable. If the federal government sought to enforce the tariffs by force, South Carolina threatened to secede from the Union. Other southern states also considered to secede if force was used. Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay quelled the situation with a Force Bill, with authorized Jackson to use force against South Carolina, and the Compromise Tariff of 1833, which lowered the tariff to South Carolina’s satisfaction. Civil war over a tariff was avoided.

King incorrectly claims that the tariffs and the Nullification Crisis had nothing to do with slavery. Southern states relied on imports because they were only producing cash crops, specifically cotton. What allowed for the southern states to focus on exports for wealth? Slave labor. When the tariff was voted on in the House in 1828, Free States voted 88 to 29 in favor and Slave States voted 17 to 65 against. The lack of votes from slave states is not a coincidence. Tariffs were believed to hurt the cotton industry, and slavery was the backbone of that industry.

Although tariffs almost led to a Civil War in 1832, it was not one of the major causes for secession or the Civil War in 1860 and 1861. All eleven of the southern states that seceded from the Union wrote secession ordinances which listed their reasons for secession. Not one of the eleven states mentioned the tariff as a reason for secession, yet people still try and claim that it was the main reason.

However, one of the documents Abraham Lincoln referenced for his First Inaugural Address was Andrew Jacksons' Proclamation to the People of South Carolina during the Nullification Crisis (John Meacham, American Lion). Even if it was a cause, the tariff affected the Southern economy, which was based on slave labor. The tariff is separated from slavery by only two moves.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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How To Not Be A Terrible Roomie, An 18-Step Guide

Freshmen, take notes.

Incoming Freshmen, this one is for you,

1. If your roomie is asleep – be quiet.

Don't play music out loud (use headphones), don't make phone calls and if you have to go out into the hallway or common area to make it!

2. Be polite about working late at night.

Make sure the light isn't shining near their bed so it won't be in their faces while they are trying to sleep.

3. Ask before you turn off the light.

There's a reason you have your own personal lamp.

4. Make sure you clean your side of the room.

Don't leave your clothes everywhere, empty your garbage, make your bed, and clean up your desk sometimes

5. If your roomie is studying for a hard test, don't bring friends into your room.

It's just ten times more distracting.

6. Turn your phone on Do Not Disturb at night.

This will help with the vibration noises/ringers from your phones. (I attached an example just in case you don't know how to do it).

7. Throw food out in the trash room.

You don't want the odor of old food in your room!

8. Do your laundry.

Don't let your basket overflow onto the floor.

9. If your roomie's parents are coming to visit, CLEAN YOUR SIDE.

Make a good impression!

10. Tell your roomie if you are having someone stay over - don't make it a surprise.

(I made this mistake... it's really awkward).

11. Don't take things without asking.

Even if it is as simple as food.. don't take without asking! IT'S NOT YOURS!

12. Don't talk about your roomie's personal life to other people.

You will hear things when they are talking to their parents, don't repeat it, it's rude.

13. Don't tell people who came over the night before.

This applies ties into rule number 12.

14. Share the room.

If your roomie wants to have a night with someone special, let them. They'll return the favor in the future (don't forget that).

15. Don't bring people they don't like into the room.

It's awkward.

16. If you're pre-gaming with friends, you're responsible for YOU and YOUR FRIENDS mess.

Don't leave bottles laying around - clean up!

17. Talk before changing the room around.

Don't move anything before you talk to the other person.

18. Set some rules when you first move in.

It will make everything a lot easier.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Just Because It's Summer Doesn't Mean We Stop Learning

Exercise your brains and your talents - no matter the season.


I made a list of goals for this summer:

- Write every day.

- Learn how to play "Clair de Lune" by the end of the summer.

- Exercise at least three times a week.

- Read. A lot.

- Stay off of my Instagram until August.

- Pay off half of my Sallie Mae student loan.

These are just a few of the things that I have chosen to busy myself with over the next two months that I am at home. Some of them are easy goals in terms of them only taking a couple of hours a day to complete, but others, like my desire to play one of my favorite pieces of music on the piano, will take daily time and require discipline in order for me to complete it.

Netflix has robbed me of my ability to self-discipline, and it's disheartening. Not that I blame "The Office" for causing me to be lazy, but it's true. I spend more time in front of the TV watching inspiring people (like Michael Scott) do inspiring stuff (like start The Michael Scott Paper Company) and less time pushing myself to do the inspiring stuff that I want to achieve.

How do we correct the laziness that seems to hit hard, especially during the summer for us students?

It will be the battle of waking up daily and saying, "I will dedicate time to making this goal happen." That won't be easy. I have mornings where my laziness is so obvious that I don't even want to make my bed.

Our goals require discipline. It's like when someone wants to lose weight: you don't tell yourself one day, "I'm going to lose weight," and then never have to remind yourself of that goal again. It takes other people holding you accountable and you holding yourself accountable to that declaration. It takes a lot of sweat and tears.

Let's hold ourselves to that same standard in other parts of our lives, too. I want to write a book, and I've started one several times, but I don't discipline myself and set apart time where I work on my goal. So, I have brought other people into this part of my life and have asked that they "check in" on my progress. Once we pop our personal bubbles around our goals and expand the bubbles to include our accountability partners and helpers, we are more likely to finish what we've started.

Where in your life have you set goals and haven't experienced the harvest from the labor? Is it because there are only spurts of labor and not consistent watering and growing and (my favorite word) cultivating of the effort?

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Ugh.

I hate failing, but sometimes we will. Actually, a lot of times, we will. I haven't even started practicing "Clair de Lune." BIG failure on my part, since I'll be playing catch up for the rest of the summer. But, I have not lost sight of the goal yet. It's okay to fail, as long as we don't allow the failure to end the pursuit of our achievements.

There is something so satisfying about seeing your efforts come to fruition, achieving that goal that you've been working on for a summer, a year, a decade, even.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the showstopper "Hamilton: An American Musical" worked on his masterpiece for seven years before getting to see it onstage. Well, he didn't actually get to see it because he was "Alexander Hamilton", but his project grew for years. Years of endurance. Years of scrapping material he had put his effort in. Years of pulling other extremely gifted people to help him. Years of wondering when he would be done.

That opening night must have been a dream for Miranda and his team.

Cover Image Credit:

Victoria Nay

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