In the years prior to the Civil War, the debate over what level of tariffs were best for the United States tended to pit the industrial northeast and midwest against the South. The secession of the South prompted many tariff opposing members of Congress to resign and created the opportunity for a higher tariff.
The Morrill Tariff of 1861, named after its sponsor Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont, was passed in the waning days of the administration of James Buchanan. Two additional increases were passed during the Civil War while Abraham Lincoln was president, with the stated purpose of raising needed funds for the Union`s military expenses. They remained in effect after the war, and tariffs remained high until the Underwood Tariff of 1913.