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and Constantinople. As to soil, mineral, wood and stream, the resource is varied and infinite. The alluvium between the Alleghenies and Rockies has no counterpart in the world. Not Ural, Alp or Apennine are richer in ores than our home ranges. No forests of Europe or Asia compare with our pine fastnesses. No streams run larger, fresher, swifter, more constant and frequent. It is the place for new men, genius, institution, development. The law, doctrine or custom, ripened by wholly different conditions, and sanctioned by antiquity, is not for us. We are a nation—an escape from antique environment. To be true we must be original. This is especially so as to economics.
The facts upon which Smith and Mill built free-trade theories are useless in America. Home facts, embracing periods of test, are the only true bases for home deductions. It is our right and duty to build on them and to evolve for ourselves the political economy which they warrant, regardless of the conclusions reached and the laws adopted by other nations. These facts and this use of them have evolved the common law of protection in this country, have confirmed a principle, have established a system—the system of American Protection.
When free-trade makes the claim that home competition cannot cheapen certain classes of home manufactures, protection answers that in such cases cheapness equal to that of a foreign product is undesirable; that there ought to be sufficient patriotic pride among us to pay more for such articles when home-made than when foreign-made, their quality and utility being the same: that we will be more than repaid for the difference in price by the encouragement extended to a home industry and by the establishment of a home market; that every cent spent at home is a contribution to the comfort of surroundings, the happiness of neighbors, the erection of homes, the welfare of labor, the founding of a home market for the wool, wheat, corn, butter, cheese, eggs and vegetables of the farmers, for which there otherwise could be no possible demand; or if so, the demand would be of so foreign a nature as to eat up profit by the cost of transportation, by commissions, and by perishability.
All free-traders make much of the argument that protection tends to over-production and consequently to periods of depression and panic. The protectionists answer, first, that this is a confession that protection does stimulate production. Secondly, they deny in toto that protection tends any more to over-production and to periods of depression and panic, than free-trade. England is as much subject to periodic visitations of glut and depression as any protected country. The glut and depression in the iron trade of 1884 extended to every iron-producing country, and England suffered most of all.
In this connection protection points confidently to its history in this country, and relies upon the unshakable argument it furnishes.
The absolutely free-trade era between 1783 and 1789 was characterized by a glut of foreign products, suspension of industries, bankruptcy of manufacturers and merchants, ruinous depreciation of prices, beggary of artisans and laborers, starvation of farmers. Says a writer of the period: "We are poor with a profusion of material wealth in our possession. That we are poor needs no other proof than our prisons, bankruptcies, judgments, executions, auctions, mortgages, etc., and the shameless quantity of business in our courts of law."
This condition passed away with the enactment of the tariff Act of 1789. It was a modest provision, but sufficient to enunciate the principle of protection for new industries, and to change the industrial and commercial situation. By 1808 the country had recovered from the evil effects of the free trade era. Then set in the restrictive measures preliminary to the war of 1812, as the Embargo Act of 1807 and the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809. Duties were doubled by the Act of 1812 with a view to secure revenue. These restrictive measures, followed by actual hostilities, proved to be an absolutely prohibitive tariff. Immediately every branch of domestic industry felt the stimulus. Establish' ments for the manufacture of cottons, woolens, iron, glass, pottery, etc., sprang up like magic. This instant and marvellous result was due to extreme protection, and it really formed the basis for that strong, persistent and intelligent movement which had for its view legislative limitation on foreign competition, and logical protection, as found in Henry Clay's American System.
This view found expression in the tariff act of 1816, which increased duties considerably, but most unfortunately for only a limited period. The 25 per cent. on cottons and woolens was to fall to 20 per cent. by 1819. What was barely protective became non-protective in three years. Limitation was to undo the affirmative work of the act. Though all that grew out of the ground remained high in price for a time, owing to shortages in Europe, manufactured goods declined. The long pent-up stream of English merchandise flooded the country after the close of the Napoleonic wars, and our manufacturers were forced to the wall. Panic set in, and with it depression, bankruptcy and all the evils of foreign inundation. The products of the soil found the level of devastation, and soon every interest was engulfed in the sad wave of commercial blight.
The lesson of this crisis was not lost to our statesmen and economists. That strong protective movement set in which was to concern so intimately the next generation. England had grown restrictive, as evidenced by the passage of her corn laws. Cotton and all our farm products were ruinously cheap. The time was most favorable for the protection and growth of home manufactures and for the establishment of home markets. Home markets had not until this date been a leading argument for protection, but from this time on the argument grew in strength. The relief tariff of 1818 merely did away with the limitations of the Act of 1816, and extended the duties of the latter act till 1826.
After 1819, that is, in 1820, the protectionists made a vigorous effort to enact a really protective act. They failed by a single vote in the Senate. They succeeded in 1824, with a niodifiedly protective act, which became more confirmedly protective in the act of 1828. This protective trend was most advantageous. Recovery from the effect of the panic of 1819 was perfect. Manufactures again sprang up. Labor got employment and reward. The farmer rejoiced at his plow. Prosperity and satisfaction reigned. The seven years after 1824 are counted as the most prosperous they had ever known.
Free-trade now came to mean the perpetuation of slavery, the nullification of law, secession. It threw itself on the very legislation it had encouraged, and with such ferocity as to compel the compromise tariff of 1833, in which the principle of protection was abandoned. Then the history of 1819 began to repeat itself. Depression set in. Values fell. Manufactures ceased. Merchants went into bankruptcy. Farmers became impoverished. Labor begged for bread. The horrors of 1819 were more than repeated in the final crash of 1837, when cows sold for $1.00 a head and hogs for 25 cents. The panic of 1837 cost the country g 1,000,000,000. To add to the terrible situation, the sliding scale of reduction of tariff rates brought duties so low by 1837 that the Government ran short of revenue, and the national credit fell so low that money could not be borrowed for necessary expenses except at enormous discount.
The reaction caused by this disastrous epoch swept the free-traders from power and the protectionists enacted the protective tariff of 1842, over the veto of President Tyler. Financial skies began to clear. The sun of prosperity broke forth. Spindles began to hum and labor to smile. The farmer held his plow with confidence. Customs' revenues leaped to seventy per cent. more than during the last year jf the compromise Act of 1833. Prices rose, and every industry was inspired with new life.
But in 1844 free-trade, more wedded than ever to unpaid labor, and shivering at the importance of paid labor and protected industry, rallied under the banner of " Polk, Dallas and the Tariff of '42." How much it believed in the "Tariff of '42 " was shown by the enactment of the Tariff of 1846, by the casting vote of Dallas in the Senate. This was a free-trade tariff, and its results were foreshadowed by its opponents. Happily there arose a series of circumstances which operated very much like the restrictive measures that followed the Act of 1808. They were all protective and sufficiently so to postpone the evil effects of the Act of 1846 for a time. They were the Mexican war, the discovery of gold in California, the Irish famine, and wars in Europe. But even by 1852 the decrease in the value of our exports of bread-stuffs and provisions had fallen off $47,000-000, and the supposed incentive of a low tariff and increased importations from abroad was not being realized.
Another reduction of duties took place in 1857. Finan• cial revolution set in, appalling m its widespread severity