Department of irrelevent but interesting questions

There are interesting side-speculations about what might have happened to America had we not fought the Civil War which do not concern themselves with slavery and race. They don't get much air play, because they're pretty much totally irrelevant to the question of whether we should have fought; but they're still kind of fascinating. For example, what would trade policy have looked like if the Confederacy had left us?

One of the big issues between North and South, after all, was the level of the tariff. The north wanted high tariffs, to protect its industries from competition; the south wanted low tariffs so that its farmers could buy cheap manufactures. Had we not reconstructed them into the Union, we would have lost the major constituency for free trade in Congress.