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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7 Truths About Being A Science Major


Whether your major is Human Bio, Chemistry, Neuroscience or any other that deals with a lot of numbers, theories, experiments and impossibly memorizing facts, you know the pressures of pursuing a career in this field. So without further ado, here are seven truths about being a science major:

1. There is no “syllabus week.”

Coming back to college in the fall is one of the best times of the year. Welcome week has become most students' favorite on-campus holiday. But then you have syllabus week: another widely celebrated week of no responsibilities… Unless you’re a science major that is. While your other friends get to enjoy this week of getting to know their professors and class expectations, you get to learn about IUPAC nomenclature of alkanes on the first day of organic chem.

2. Your heart breaks every time you have to buy a new textbook.

Somehow every professor seems to have their own “special edition” textbook for class… And somehow it’s always a couple hundred bucks… And somehow, it's ALWAYS required.

3. Hearing "attendance is not mandatory," but knowing attendance is VERY mandatory.

Your professor will tell you that they don’t take attendance. Your professor will put all lecture slides online. Your professor will even record their lectures and make those available as well. Yet if you still don’t go to class, you’ll fail for sure. Coming into lecture after missing just one day feels like everyone has learned an entire new language.

4. You’re never the smartest person in your class anymore.

No matter what subject, what class or what concentration, there will always be someone who is just that much better at it than you.

5. You get totally geeked out when you learn an awesome new fact.

Today in genetics you learned about mosaicism. The fact that somebody can have a disease in part of their total body cells but normal throughout all others gets you so hype. Even though you know that your family, friends and neighbors don’t actually care about your science facts, you HAVE to tell them all anyways.

6. There is never enough time in a day.

You are always stuck choosing between studying, eating, sleeping and having fun. If you're lucky, you'll get three of these done in one day. But if you're a risk taker, you can try to do all of these at once.

7. You question your major (and your sanity) almost daily.

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How I Escaped My Hoarding Tendencies

I was once a hoarder.


Up until my third year of college, I kept everything. I had notes, homework, and tests from all of my classes starting in kindergarten, all the way until my college years. My walls were filled with photos, art, birthday and thank-you cards, plane and movie tickets, receipts, and even interesting shopping bags I'd collected over the years. Drawers were stuffed with random pieces of toys with which I felt strong emotional connections. I still kept clothes from elementary school that I certainly could not wear anymore, but for some reason felt that I needed to keep.

Despite being a hoarder, I was still quite organized. My room, usually messy, was relatively well-organized. However, during college, something for me changed. I was suddenly annoyed with all of the things I had kept over the years, and wanted a clean slate. I tore everything down from my walls, pulled out all the clothes in my closet, and decided to start over.

This whole adventure of me decluttering my room took three full days, dozens of trash bags full of items to donate, and so much excess emotional garbage. When I was finally finished, I felt so much emotional relief. While I really enjoyed sifting through every piece of paper that I had written, every exam I had taken, every toy and card that had been gifted to me, and all the clothes that no longer fit me, I was happy to finally be finished. My head hurt from the nostalgia, but I slept incredibly well that night.

Since then, I've learned how to live on a minimal amount of stuff. My room is usually tidy and I've found cleaning and organizing to be addicting and cathartic. I now keep only things with which I have strong emotional connections, like the bracelet my now-deceased grandmother gave me and the farewell letters written by my friends before I moved away for graduate school.

With fewer concrete memorabilia stowed away, I can cherish the memories that mean the most to me and focus on identifying the memories happening in the present that I want to remember forever.

Tidying up also helped me achieve a lot of my career goals in life. I don't think this success would have been possible if I had been disorganized and distracted by the past that cluttered my room.

With all of that said, I still have a long ways to go in terms of tidying my life. My work life is definitely not as organized as my home life. My desk and computer files are not organized in the best way, but I hope to implement my personal life philosophy into my work life in the future. My social and familial life are also quite disorganized. After moving to a new city, I found the initial socializing to be overwhelming and struggled to prioritize the people I wanted to spend time with. However, I am slowly working to improve this balance of my social and familial life.

While I am still on this journey, I wanted to share the impact that decluttering has had on my so far and hope that this would inspire you to identify things you can declutter in your own life.

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