Some Aspects of the Tariff Question

Taussig, Frank William
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First Pub. Date
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Pub. Date
1st edition.



The main purpose of the present volume is to consider and illustrate some questions of principle in the controversy on free trade and protection. The three chapters which constitute Part I state these questions and summarize the main conclusions. The succeeding Parts give illustrations and verifications drawn from the history of several industries,—sugar, iron and steel, and textiles. Something is thereby done, I trust, to make more precise and complete the theory of the subject, and to vivify it through illustrations from experience; and some contribution is offered also on the general economic history of the United States.


The inquiries whose results are here given have extended over more than a quarter of a century, and I have utilized in this book portions of various papers published at intervals during the period. In the Quarterly Journal of Economics for April, 1889, I printed an article on "Some Aspects of the Tariff Question" which contained the germ of much that is now more fully elaborated. It gives me satisfaction to be able to say that, great as have been the changes during the past twenty-five years in the industries considered then and now, the main reasoning of this early article is not impugned. The extraordinary and in many ways unexpected industrial developments serve to confirm its conclusions rather than modify them. Later articles in the same Journal I have used in a more literal sense, by the incorporation of some passages verbatim; two articles on the iron and steel industry, published in February and August, 1900, and another on the beet-sugar industry, published in February, 1912. I have also used parts of an article in the Atlantic Monthly for March, 1908 on sugar and reciprocity. Chapter II was printed almost as it stands in the Atlantic Monthly for May, 1913. The substance of some of the later chapters was given in lectures delivered at the Lowell Institute in Boston, in 1912.


Valuable aid has come from students who have worked with me on these topics in Harvard University. I have to acknowledge more particularly the aid of Mr. D. F. Dunbar, on the tin plate industry; of Mr. H. L. Perrin, on some aspects of the sugar trade; and of Mr. E. P. Coleman, on copper. Among my colleagues in the University, Dr. M. T. Copeland has given information and helpful suggestions on the fourth Part, dealing with textiles; and Mr. A. H. Cole has kindly read all the proofs and given me the benefit of his helpful criticism.


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