As you’ll recall from yesterday’s post, even as Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard shored up Charleston’s defenses and President Lincoln considered ways to entice the South to fire on Fort Sumter, the U.S. Congress passed the Morrill Tariff Act, a key policy in the Republicans’ fall campaign platform.
The tariff, which called for increasing fees on imports, would generate funds to cover the Federal deficit, encourage domestic industry which largely existed in the North, and increase wages for Northern factory workers. Meanwhile, the new tariff would raise prices on Southern imports without any balancing benefits, as the agrarian South was far less industrialized than the North. Needless to say, the passage of the act did nothing to ease tensions between the two sides.
Check in again tomorrow to hear about an obscure incident in Charleston Harbor, rarely included in the story of Fort Sumter.