The Tariff See-Saw

Results are piling up several months into the Trump administration’s aggressive rollout of tariffs on imported products, reports NPR. “And not all of them are negative.” [1]

In the 1990s, the Clinton administration was proclaiming the glories of free trade (reduced or eliminated tariffs).

It is the tariff see-saw, and it has a long history.

None knew better than the members of the first Congress meeting in New York in 1789 “that the war of the American Revolution chiefly grew out of the efforts of Great Britain to cripple and destroy our Colonial industries to the benefit of the British trader, and that the Independence conquered, was an Industrial as well as Political Independence; and none knew better than they, that the failure of the subsequent political Confederation of States was due mainly to its failure to encourage and protect the budding domestic manufactures of those States.” Hence they passed an Act laying a duty (tariff) on goods, wares and merchandise imported into the United States. [2]

“Under the inspiration of Alexander Hamilton the Tariff of 1790 was enacted at the second session of the same Congress, confirming the previous Act and increasing some of the protective duties thereby imposed.” [2]

The War of 1812-1815 shut the door to foreign imports, threw our people upon their own resources, “and contributed greatly to the encouragement and increase of our home manufactures…” [2]

But then, when the War of 1812 had ended, “the traders of Great Britain determined, even at a temporary loss to themselves, to glut our market with their goods and thus break down forever, as they hoped, our infant manufactures.” [2]

Against this British plot, the American people clamored for Protection and Congress at once passed the Tariff Act of 1816. [2]

The Tariff Act of 1816 has been described as “the practical foundation of the American policy of encouragement of home manufactures…” [2]

The Tariff Acts of 1824 and 1828 followed the great American principle of Protection laid down in the Act of 1816. [2]

Throughout these times of the various tariff Acts, however, there were “Free Traders” lurking about. These “Free Traders” were aligned with a growing secession movement in the South. They “made up for their paucity in numbers by their unscrupulous ingenuity and active zeal.” [2]

To calm down the “Free Trade” gang, the Tariff Act of 1832 was passed which softened the Act of 1828. But the secesh “Free Trade” gang was not easily satisfied. On November 24, 1832, in South Carolina, an “Ordinance of Nullification” was passed locally which defied the Tariff Acts of 1828 and 1832. The people of South Carolina were forbidden to enforce the import duties. If the federal government attempted to intervene, South Carolina would secede from the Union! [2]

With far-sighted leadership, President Andrew Jackson moved quickly. Even before South Carolina had passed its local defiance of the tariff, Jackson had ordered General Winfield Scott to Charleston to look after the safety of the ports of the United States, and had sent to the Collector at the Charleston port “precise instructions as to his duty to resist in all ways any and all attempts made under such Ordinance to defeat the operation of the Tariff laws aforesaid.” [2]

——- Sources ——-
[1] “Trade War With China Heats Up, But Tariff Effects Are Already Rippling Across U.S.”, by Dustin Dwyer. NPR (All Things Considered), July 9, 2018.
[2] The Great Conspiracy: Its Origin and History, by John A. Logan. New York: A.R. Hart & Co., 1886.


About ersjdamoo

Editor of Conspiracy Nation, later renamed Melchizedek Communique. Close associate of the late Sherman H. Skolnick. Jack of all trades, master of none. Sagittarius, with Sagittarius rising. I'm not a bum, I'm a philosopher.
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1 Response to The Tariff See-Saw

  1. Pingback: The Tariff See-Saw (Part 2) | Ersjdamoo's Blog

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