Speculation, which involved driving up prices on desperately needed consumer goods, was both rampant and roundly condemned in the Confederacy during the(1861–1865). Along with conscription, the so-called , and , speculation helped to undermine support for the war among the less wealthy, in particular. Appalled at soaring prices, Virginians looked for explanations. The Union blockade of the Atlantic coast was partly to blame, and so was the Confederate Congress. Beholden to a philosophy and suspicious of a strong federal government, lawmakers refused to levy the taxes necessary to finance the war, thus guaranteeing high inflation. The victims of that inflation, however, preferred to point fingers at greedy speculators, or “extortioners.” Such individuals certainly existed, but government attempts to regulate or punish them were either not forthcoming or proved to be ineffective. Accusations of speculation, meanwhile, were sometimes accompanied by anti-Semitism, challenges of patriotism, and, in one instance, arson.