Ohio History Journal

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1. The tariff has not attracted many historians, doubtless because of its complexity

and fragmentation. Edward Stanwood, American Tariff Controversies in the Nine-

teenth Century (New York, 1903), is a narrative account of tariff measures from a

protectionist viewpoint. Ida M. Tarbell, The Tariff in Our Times (New York, 1911), is

the same from a revisionist viewpoint. Frank Taussig, The Tariff History of the United

States (New York, 1910), is an anti-protectionist study whose often questionable gener-

alizations are the basis of most secondary conclusions on the subject. No contemporary

scholar has studied thoroughly the effects of protection on American industry in the late

nineteenth century. Such a work would involve the minute examination of protected and

unprotected industries within a carefully defined ideological framework that weighed

the many factors outside protective legislation affecting prices, wages, business cycles,

and international trade.

2. Space forbids a recapitulation of McKinley's biography; see Margaret Leech, In

the Days of McKinley (New York, 1959); H. Wayne Morgan, William McKinley and

His America (Syracuse, N. Y., 1963).

3. Charles S. Olcott, The Life of William McKinley (New York, 1916), I, 113.

4. Cleveland Leader, August 25, 1895; Joseph G. Butler, Presidents I Have Seen and

Known: Lincoln to Taft (Cleveland, 1910), 40-41.

5. Robert M. La Follette, La Follette's Autobiography: A Personal Narrative of

Political Experiences (Madison, Wis., 1919), 114.

6. Speeches and Addresses of William McKinley (New York, 1893), 17.

7. Ibid., 97.

8. Ibid., 105.

9. Ibid., 350.

10. Olcott, William McKinley, I, 115.

11. Speeches and Addresses (1893), 376.

12. Ibid., 6.

13. Ibid., 187.

14. Ibid., 295.

15. Ibid., 71.

16. Ibid., 327.

17. Ibid., 96.

18. Ibid., 71. Limitations of space and purpose forbid a full discussion of the economic

theory behind protection or of its historical validity. If the American economy had rested

on export trade, as did that of England, free trade would have been beneficial and per-

haps imperative. An effective case can be made, however, for protection in this era

because of American domestic resources, markets, labor supply, and capital development.

The real issues involved are two: (1) What products merited protection and on what

basis? (2) At what stage in an industry's growth should protection have ended? The

problem is really one of degree and selection. Theoretically, the Democratic reformers

of the late 1880's had a good case, since they proposed reductions on finished goods where

price levels and demand warranted them. In practice, however, they favored the old

geographical interests for purely political reasons. Both the Mills bill of 1888 and the

Wilson bill of 1894 protected southern and western products at the expense of eastern

manufactured products. The best answer was scientific management by a nonpartisan

board of experts, much as was done slowly with the civil service. However wise that

may have been economically, it was impossible politically.

19. Speeches and Addresses (1893), 70-105.

20. Ibid., 131-159.

21. See Allan Nevins, Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage (New York, 1932),


22. See Revision of the Tariff, Miscellaneous House Documents, 51 cong., 1 sess.,

No. 176; Morgan, William McKinley and His America, 123-151.

23. See David S. Muzzey, James G. Blaine: A Political Idol of Other Days (New York,

1934), 437ff.

24. Blaine had fostered Pan-Americanism as secretary of state for Garfield in 1881,

but left office before finishing his plans or accomplishing a great deal. See David M.

Pletcher, The Awkward Years: American Foreign Relations Under Garfield and Arthur

(Columbia, Mo., 1962), esp. 59-86, 170-191, 284-307.

25. Speeches and Addresses (1893), 397-430. Many normally low tariff southerners

bitterly assailed the bounty scheme and demanded protection for sugar in Louisiana.

26. See H. Wayne Morgan, "Western Silver and the Tariff of 1890," New Mexico

Historical Review, XXXV (1960), 118-128.