Visualizing Tariff Revenues
Earlier today my Austin colleague Eric Calistri shared a link to an Excel spreadsheet, distributed by the Economic History Association (download at your own risk), that detailed gross revenues, expenses and net revenues for ports of entry around the United States in the late 1850s. The data is abstracted from a report from the Secretary of the Treasury to the 36th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Executive Document No. 33.
To help visualize that, I’ve taken the gross revenue data for selected ports for FY 1859, and shown how those various ports stack up (ahem!) against one another:
Recall that Professor Williams said that “Southern ports paid 75 percent of tariffs in 1859.″ Sure doesn’t look like it to me. Tariff revenues at New Orleans are similar to those at Philadelphia, but no other Southern port comes anywhere close. Even the second Southern port, Charleston, is only about a tenth the size.
Sometimes it helps to see a thing to really understand it. Full-size image here.