McKinley Tariff

The Tariff Act of 1890, commonly called the McKinley Tariff, was an act of the United States Congress framed by Representative William McKinley that became law on October 1, 1890. The tariff raised the average duty on imports to almost fifty percent, an act designed to protect domestic industries from foreign competition.[1] Protectionism, a tactic supported by Republicans, was fiercely debated by politicians and condemned by Democrats. The McKinley Tariff was replaced with the Wilson–Gorman Tariff Act in 1894, which promptly lowered tariff rates.[2]

William McKinley


Tariffs, taxes on foreign goods entering a country, served two purposes for the United States in the late 19th century. One was to raise revenue for the federal government, and the other was to protect domestic manufacturers from foreign competition, which is known as protectionism.[3]

In December 1887, President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, devoted his entire State of the Union Address to the issue of the tariff and called emphatically for the reduction of duties and the abolition of duties on raw materials. The speech succeeded in making the tariff and the idea of protectionism a true party matter. In the 1888 election, the Republicans were victorious with the election of Benjamin Harrison and majorities in both the Senate and the House. For the sake of holding the party line, the Republicans felt obligated to pass stronger tariff legislation.[4]

William McKinley, of Ohio, was defeated by Thomas Brackett Reed to be Speaker of the House after the 1888 elections.[5] McKinley instead became chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and was responsible for framing a new tariff bill. He believed that a protectionist tariff had been mandated by the people through the election and that it was necessary for America's wealth and prosperity.[5]

In addition to the protectionist debate, politicians were also concerned about the high revenue accruing from tariffs.[6] After the American Civil War, tariffs remained elevated to raise revenue and to cover the high costs of the war. However, in the early 1880s, the federal government was running a large surplus. Both parties agreed that the surplus needed to lessen but disagreed about whether to raise or to lower tariffs to accomplish the same goal.

The Democrats' hypothesis stated that tariff revenue could be reduced by reducing the tariff rate. Conversely, the Republicans' belief was that by increasing the tariff, imports would be lessened, and total tariff revenue would drop. The debate would be known as the Great Tariff Debate of 1888.[6]


After 450 amendments, the Tariff Act of 1890 was passed and increased average duties across all imports from 38% to 49.5%.[5] McKinley was known as the "Napoleon of Protection," and rates were raised on some goods and lowered on others, always in an attempt to protect American manufacturing interests. Changes in duties for specific products such as tinplates and wool were the most controversial ones and were emblematic of the spirit of the Tariff of 1890.[7]

However, on certain items, the Act eliminated tariffs altogether, with the threat of reinstatement as an enticement to get other countries to lower their tariffs on items imported from the US.


Tin-plates were a major import for the United States; tens of millions of dollars in these goods entered the country each year.[7] In the preceding 20 years, tariff rates had been raised and dropped multiple times on tin-plates with no change in import levels, and domestic production had remained inconsequential. In a last attempt to stimulate the infant domestic tin-plate industry, the Act raised the duty level from 30% to 70%.[8] It also included a unique provision that stated tin-plates should be admitted free of any duty after 1897 unless domestic production in any year reached one third of the imports in that year. The goal was for the duty to be protective or not to exist at all.


The new tariff provisions for wool and woolen goods were exceedingly protectionist. Wool was previously taxed based on a schedule: more valuable wool was taxed at a higher rate. Through a multitude of complicated tariff schedule revisions, the Act made almost all woolen goods subject to the maximum duty rate.[9]

Also, the Act increased the tariff on carpet wool, a wool of very low quality not produced in the US. The government wanted to ensure that importers were not declaring higher-quality wool as carpet wool to evade the tariff.[10]

Eliminated tariffs

The Act removed tariffs on sugar, molasses, tea, coffee and hides but authorized the President to reinstate the tariffs if the items were exported from countries that treated U.S. exports in a "reciprocally unequal and unreasonable" fashion. The idea was "to secure reciprocal trade" by allowing the executive branch to use the mere threat of reimposing tariffs as a means to get other countries to lower their tariffs on U.S. exports. Although that delegation of power had the appearance of being an unconstitutional violation of the nondelegation doctrine, it was upheld by the Supreme Court in Field v. Clark in 1892, as it authorizing the executive to act merely as an "agent" of Congress, rather than a lawmaker itself.[11] The President did not use the delegated power to re-impose tariffs on the five types of imported goods, but he used the threat of doing so to pass 10 treaties in which other countries reduced their tariffs on U.S. goods.[12][13]


Douglas Irwin's 1998 paper examines the validity of the opposite tariff hypotheses posed by the Republicans and Democrats in 1890. Irwin looked at historical data to estimate import demand elasticities and export supply elasticities for the US in the years before 1888. He then calculated that tariffs had not reached the maximum revenue rate and that a reduction, not a raise, in the tariff would have reduced revenue and the federal surplus. That confirmed the Democrats' hypothesis and refuted the Republicans'.

After he examined the actual tariff revenue data, he concluded that revenue decreased by about 4% from $225 million to $215 million, after the Tariff of 1890 increased rates. Irwin explains that to be due to a provision for raw sugar be moved to the duty-free list. Sugar was then the item that raised the most tariff revenue and so making it duty-free reduced revenue. If sugar is excluded from import calculations, the tariff revenue increased by 7.8%, from $170 million to $183 million.

Irwin concluded that the tariff hastened the development of domestic tinplate production by about a decade but also that the benefit to the industry was outweighed by the cost to consumers.[14]


The tariff was not well received by Americans who suffered a steep increase in the cost of products. In the 1890 election, Republicans lost their majority in the House with the number of seats they won reduced by nearly half, from 171 to 88.[15] Also, in the 1892 presidential election, Harrison was soundly defeated by Grover Cleveland, and the Senate, House, and Presidency were all under Democratic control. Lawmakers immediately started drafting new tariff legislation, and in 1894, the Wilson-Gorman Tariff passed, which lowered US tariff averages.[16]

The tariff was poorly-received also abroad. Protectionists in the British Empire used it to argue for tariff retaliation and imperial trade preference.[17]


  1. ^ Reitano, Joanne (1994). The Tariff Question in the Gilded Age: The Great Debate of 1888. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University. p. 129. ISBN 0-271-01035-5.
  2. ^ Taussig, F. W. (1892). The Tariff History of the United States (8th ed.). New York, NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 291.
  3. ^ Irwin, Douglas A. (1998). "Higher Tariffs, Lower Revenues? Analyzing the Fiscal Aspects of 'The Great Tariff Debate of 1888'". Journal of Economic History. 58 (1): 59–72. doi:10.1017/S0022050700019884.
  4. ^ Taussig 1892, p. 256
  5. ^ a b c Reitano 1994, p. 129
  6. ^ a b Irwin 1998, p. 59
  7. ^ a b Taussig 1892, p. 273
  8. ^ Taussig 1892, p. 274
  9. ^ Taussig 1892, p. 262
  10. ^ Taussig 1892, p. 258
  11. ^ Field v. Clark decision text
  12. ^ The treaties were with Austria–Hungary (May 20, 1892), Brazil (April 1, 1891), the Dominican Republic (Sept. 1, 1891), El Salvador (Feb. 1, 1892), Germany (Feb. 1, 1892), Guatemala (May 30, 1892), Honduras (May 25, 1892), Nicaragua (March 12, 1892), Spain (for Cuba and Puerto Rico, Sept. 1, 1891), and the United Kingdom (for the British West Indies and British Guiana, Feb. 1, 1892).
  13. ^ "Reciprocity Treaties with Other Countries". The New York Times. November 24, 1901.
  14. ^ Irwin, Douglas A. (2000). "Did Late-Nineteenth-Century U.S. Tariffs Promote Infant Industries? Evidence from the Tinplate Industry". Journal of Economic History. 60 (2): 335–60. doi:10.1017/S0022050700025122.
  15. ^ Reitano 1994, p. 130
  16. ^ Taussig 1892, p. 291
  17. ^ Palen, Marc-William (2010). "Protection, Federation and Union: The Global Impact of the McKinley Tariff upon the British Empire, 1890–94". Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. 38 (3): 395–418. doi:10.1080/03086534.2010.503395.
1890 United States elections

The 1890 United States elections occurred in the middle of Republican President Benjamin Harrison's term. Members of the 52nd United States Congress were chosen in this election. The Republicans suffered major losses due to the Panic of 1890 and the unpopularity of the McKinley Tariff. The Populist Party also emerged as an important third party.

Republicans suffered massive losses to Democrats in the House, and the Democrats took control of the chamber.In the Senate, Democrats made minor gains, but Republicans kept control of the chamber. The Populists joined the Senate for the first time, electing two Senators.

1892 Democratic National Convention

The 1892 Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois, June 21–June 23, 1892 and nominated former President Grover Cleveland, who had been the party's standard-bearer in 1884 and 1888. This marked the first time a former president was renominated by a major party. Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois was nominated for Vice President. The ticket was victorious in the general election, defeating the Republican nominees, President Benjamin Harrison and his running-mate Whitelaw Reid.

1892 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1892 was the 27th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 1892. In a re-match of the closely contested 1888 presidential election, former Democratic President Grover Cleveland defeated incumbent Republican President Benjamin Harrison. Cleveland's victory made him the first and to date only person in American history to be elected to a non-consecutive second presidential term. It was also the first of two times that an incumbent was defeated in two consecutive elections (the other being Jimmy Carter's defeat of Gerald Ford in 1976 and subsequent loss to Ronald Reagan in 1980).Though some Republicans opposed Harrison's re-nomination, Harrison defeated James G. Blaine and William McKinley on the first presidential ballot of the 1892 Republican National Convention. Cleveland defeated challenges by David B. Hill and Horace Boies on the first presidential ballot of the 1892 Democratic National Convention, becoming the first Democrat to win his party's presidential nomination in three different elections. The new Populist Party, formed by groups from The Grange, the Farmers' Alliances, and the Knights of Labor, fielded a ticket led by former Congressman James B. Weaver of Iowa.

The campaign centered mainly on economic issues, especially the protectionist 1890 McKinley Tariff. Cleveland ran on a platform of lowering the tariff, and he opposed the Republicans' 1890 voting rights proposal. Cleveland was also a proponent of the gold standard, while the Republicans and Populists both supported bimetalism.

Cleveland swept the Solid South and won several important swing states, taking a majority of the electoral vote and a plurality of the popular vote. Cleveland was the first person since Andrew Jackson to win a significant number of electoral votes in three different elections, and only Jackson, Cleveland, and Franklin D. Roosevelt have won the popular vote in three different elections. Weaver won 8.5% of the popular vote and carried several Western states, while John Bidwell of the Prohibition Party won 2.2% of the popular vote. The Democrats would not win another presidential election until 1912.

Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison (August 20, 1833 – March 13, 1901) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 23rd president of the United States from 1889 to 1893. He was a grandson of the ninth president, William Henry Harrison, creating the only grandfather–grandson duo to have held the office. He was also the great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison V, a founding father. Before ascending to the presidency, Harrison established himself as a prominent local attorney, Presbyterian church leader, and politician in Indianapolis, Indiana. During the American Civil War, he served in the Union Army as a colonel, and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a brevet brigadier general of volunteers in 1865. Harrison unsuccessfully ran for governor of Indiana in 1876. The Indiana General Assembly elected Harrison to a six-year term in the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1881 to 1887.

A Republican, Harrison was elected to the presidency in 1888, defeating the Democratic incumbent, Grover Cleveland. Hallmarks of Harrison's administration included unprecedented economic legislation, including the McKinley Tariff, which imposed historic protective trade rates, and the Sherman Antitrust Act. Harrison also facilitated the creation of the national forest reserves through an amendment to the Land Revision Act of 1891. During his administration six western states were admitted to the Union. In addition, Harrison substantially strengthened and modernized the U.S. Navy and conducted an active foreign policy, but his proposals to secure federal education funding as well as voting rights enforcement for African Americans were unsuccessful.

Due in large part to surplus revenues from the tariffs, federal spending reached one billion dollars for the first time during his term. The spending issue in part led to the defeat of the Republicans in the 1890 mid-term elections. Cleveland defeated Harrison for re-election in 1892, due to the growing unpopularity of the high tariff and high federal spending. Harrison returned to private life and his law practice in Indianapolis. In 1899 Harrison represented the Republic of Venezuela in their British Guiana boundary dispute against the United Kingdom. Harrison traveled to the court of Paris as part of the case and after a brief stay returned to Indianapolis. He died at his home in Indianapolis in 1901 of complications from influenza. Although many have praised Harrison's commitment to African Americans' voting rights, scholars and historians generally regard his administration as below-average, and rank him in the bottom half among U.S. presidents. Historians, however, have not questioned Harrison's commitment to personal and official integrity.

Dingley Act

The Dingley Act of 1897 (ch. 11, 30 Stat. 151, July 24, 1897), introduced by U.S. Representative Nelson Dingley, Jr., of Maine, raised tariffs in United States to counteract the Wilson–Gorman Tariff Act of 1894, which had lowered rates. Came into effect under William McKinley the first year that he was in office. The McKinley administration wanted to slowly bring back the protectionism that was proposed by the Tariff of 1890.

Following the election of 1896, McKinley followed through with his promises for protectionism. Congress imposed duties on wool and hides which had been duty-free since 1872. Rates were increased on woolens, linens, silks, china, and sugar (the tax rates for which doubled). The Dingley Tariff remained in effect for twelve years, making it the longest-lived tariff in U.S. history. It was also the highest in U.S. history, averaging about 52% in its first year of operation. Over the life of the tariff, the rate averaged at around 47%.The Dingley Act remained in effect until the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of 1909.

Frederick Edward White

Frederick Edward White (January 19, 1844 – January 14, 1920) was a one-term Democratic U.S. Representative from Iowa's 6th congressional district.

Born in Prussia, White immigrated to the United States in 1857 with his mother, who settled on a farm in Keokuk County, Iowa.

When the American Civil War began in 1861, he joined the 8th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment, but as a seventeen-year-old, he was rejected on account of age. In February 1962, after his eighteenth birthday, he enlisted in the 13th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He was mustered out in August 1865, after the war's end, and returned to Keokuk County and engaged in agricultural pursuits and stock raising.

In 1890, White received the Democratic nomination to run against incumbent Republican Congressman John F. Lacey for the U.S. House seat in Iowa's 6th congressional district. A protectionist measure known as the McKinley tariff had been approved by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed by a Republican president, but was extremely unpopular, especially in rural areas such as the 6th district, where it was blamed for making the agricultural economy worse. White took advantage of that backlash, and unseated Lacey, serving in the Fifty-second Congress. However, in the next election, many Iowa voters returned to historic voting patterns, and White (and the other new Iowa Democratic congressmen) were not re-elected. Instead, Lacey reclaimed his seat, and would hold it until 1907. In all, White served in Congress from March 4, 1891 to March 3, 1893.

After his defeat, White retired from public life and resumed agricultural pursuits.

He died in Sigourney, Iowa, on January 14, 1920. He was interred in Sigourney Cemetery.

John Q. A. Brackett

John Quincy Adams Brackett (June 8, 1842 – April 6, 1918) was an American lawyer and politician from Massachusetts. A Republican and temperance advocate, he served one term as the 36th Governor of Massachusetts, from 1890 to 1891. Born in New Hampshire and educated at Harvard, he practiced law in Boston before entering politics.

In the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Brackett rose to become Speaker in 1885, and was elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts under Governor Oliver Ames. He succeeded Ames, but his bid for reelection in 1891 was ended by strict enforcement of restrictive liquor laws, and by the negative economic effects on the state of the McKinley Tariff. He was a delegate to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1917–1918, but died before it ended.

John Taylor Hamilton

John Taylor Hamilton (October 16, 1843 – January 25, 1925) was a businessman from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a one-term Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Iowa's 5th congressional district.

List of tariffs in the United States

This is a list of United States tariffs.

1789: Tariff of 1789 (Hamilton Tariff)

1790: Tariff of 1790

1792: Tariff of 1792

1816: Tariff of 1816

1824: Tariff of 1824

1828: Tariff of 1828

1832: Tariff of 1832

1833: Tariff of 1833

1842: Tariff of 1842

1846: Walker tariff

1857: Tariff of 1857

1861: Morrill Tariff

1872: Tariff of 1872

1875: Tariff of 1875

1883: Tariff of 1883 (Mongrel Tariff)

1890: McKinley Tariff

1894: Wilson–Gorman Tariff Act

1897: Dingley Tariff

1909: Payne–Aldrich Tariff Act

1913: Revenue Act of 1913 (Underwood Tariff)

1921: Emergency Tariff of 1921

1922: Fordney–McCumber Tariff

1930: Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act

1934: Reciprocal Tariff Act

1947: General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

1962: Trade Expansion Act

1974: Trade Act of 1974

1979: Trade Agreements Act of 1979

1984: Trade and Tariff Act of 1984

1988: Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act

1994: World Trade Organization created

2002: 2002 United States steel tariff

2002: Trade Act of 2002

2009: Chinese tire tariffs

2018: Trump tariffs

Lodge Bill

The Lodge Bill or Federal Elections Bill or Lodge Force Bill of 1890 was a bill drafted by Representative Henry Cabot Lodge (R) of Massachusetts, and sponsored in the Senate by George Frisbie Hoar; it was endorsed by President Benjamin Harrison. The bill would have authorized the federal government to ensure that elections were fair. In particular, it would have allowed federal circuit courts (after being petitioned by a small number of citizens from any precinct) to appoint federal supervisors of congressional elections. Said supervisors would have many duties, including: attending elections, inspecting registration lists, verifying doubtful voter information, administering oaths to challenged voters, stopping illegal aliens from voting, and certifying the vote count.The bill was created primarily to enforce the ability of blacks, predominantly Republican at the time, to vote in the South, as provided for in the constitution. The Fifteenth Amendment already formally guaranteed that right, but white southern Democrats had passed laws related to voter registration and electoral requirements, such as requiring payment of poll taxes and literacy tests (often waived if the prospective voter's grandfather had been a registered voter, the "grandfather clause"), that effectively prevented blacks from voting. That year Mississippi passed a new constitution that disfranchised most blacks, and other states would soon follow the "Mississippi plan".

After passing the House by just six votes, the Lodge bill was successfully filibustered in the Senate, with little action by the President of the Senate, Vice President Levi P. Morton, because Silver Republicans in the West traded it away for Southern support of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act and Northern Republicans traded it away for Southern support of the McKinley Tariff.Julius Caesar Chappelle (1852–1904) was among the earliest black Republican legislators in the United States, representing Boston and serving from 1883–1886. In 1890, Chappelle gave a political speech for the right of blacks to vote at an "enthusiastic" meeting at Boston's Faneuil Hall to support the federal elections bill. He was featured in a front page article in The New York Age newspaper covering his support of the Lodge bill. (The Republican Party had been founded by abolitionists and other slavery opponents called Free Soilers, explaining why black voters were overwhelmingly Republican in this era.)

Presidency of Benjamin Harrison

The presidency of Benjamin Harrison began on March 4, 1889, when Benjamin Harrison was inaugurated as President of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1893. Harrison, a Republican, took office as the 23rd United States president after defeating Democratic incumbent President Grover Cleveland in the 1888 election. Four years later he was defeated for re-election by Cleveland in the 1892 presidential election. Harrison is the only president to be preceded and succeeded by the same individual. Harrison is also the only president to be the grandson of another president.

Harrison and the Republican-controlled 51st Congress enacted the most ambitious domestic agenda of the late-nineteenth century. Hallmarks of his administration include the McKinley Tariff, which imposed historic protective trade rates, and the Sherman Antitrust Act, which empowered the federal government to investigate and prosecute trusts. Due in large part to surplus revenues from the tariffs, federal spending reached one billion dollars for the first time during his term. Harrison facilitated the creation of the National Forests through an amendment to the Land Revision Act of 1891, and substantially strengthened and modernized the Navy. He proposed, in vain, federal education funding as well as voting rights enforcement for African Americans during his administration. In foreign policy, Harrison sought tariff reciprocity in Latin America and increased U.S. influence across the Pacific. Harrison's presidency saw the addition of six new states, more than any other president.

Although many have praised Harrison's commitment to African Americans' voting rights, scholars and historians generally regard his administration as below-average, and rank him in the bottom half among U.S. presidents. Historians, however, have not questioned Harrison's commitment to personal and official integrity. With his ambitious domestic policy and assertive foreign policy, Harrison set a precedent for the more powerful presidencies of the 20th century.

Rossie Velvet Mill Historic District

The Rossie Velvet Mill Historic District is located in the Mystic village of Stonington, Connecticut. Its main focus is the former Rossie Velvet Mill, a large brick industrial facility on the east side of Greenmanville Avenue that is now a research center for the nearby Mystic Seaport Museum. The district extends along Greenmanville Avenue between Pleasant Street in the north and the museum complex in the south. Most of the buildings in the district are residential housing built to house workers at the mill, and were built between about 1850 and 1950. The district includes 51 properties in 120 acres (49 ha). The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 9, 2007.The area that houses the Rossie Velvet Mill was basically agricultural until about 1850, it farmers providing goods to the shipbuilders and other businesses in Mystic. A small textile mill began operation on the bank of the Mystic River in that year, on what are now the grounds of the museum, and that area developed as a modestly scaled industrial area. The Rossie Velvet Mill was established here in 1897, spurred on by two factors: first, a local business development group recruited velvet makers from Germany to the area, repeating a success in Stonington village, and the McKinley Tariff of 1890 encouraged the owners of a velvet mill in Süchteln (northwestern Germany) to open a manufacturing facility in the United States to avoid the tariff. This business was a major local success, employing 200 workers (including a significant number of experienced German immigrant weavers) at what was the village's largest employer. The Rossie operation failed in the Great Depression, but the plant was soon operating under different ownership. It was permanently closed in 1958.

Sherman Silver Purchase Act

The Sherman Silver Purchase Act was a United States federal law

enacted on July 14, 1890.The measure did not authorize the free and unlimited coinage of silver that the Free Silver supporters wanted; however, it increased the amount of silver the government was required to purchase on a recurrent monthly basis to 4.5 million ounces. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act had been passed in response to the growing complaints of farmers' and miners' interests. Farmers had immense debts that could not be paid off due to deflation, and they urged the government to pass the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in order to boost the economy and cause inflation, allowing them to pay their debts with cheaper dollars. Mining companies, meanwhile, had extracted vast quantities of silver from western mines; the resulting oversupply drove down the price of their product, often to below the point at which the silver could be profitably extracted. They hoped to enlist the government to increase the demand for silver.Originally, the bill was simply known as the Silver Purchase Act of 1890. Only after the bill was signed into law, did it become the "Sherman Silver Purchase Act." Senator John Sherman, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee was not the author of the bill, but once both houses of Congress had passed the Act and the Act had been sent to a Senate/House conference committee to iron out differences between the Senate and House versions of the Act, Senator John Sherman was instrumental in getting the conference committee to reach agreement on a final draft of the Act. Nonetheless, once agreement on the final version was reached in the conference committee, Sherman found that he disagreed with many sections of the act. So tepid was Sherman's support that when he was asked his opinion of the act by President Benjamin Harrison, Sherman ventured only that the bill was "safe" and would cause no harm if the President signed it.The act was enacted in tandem with the McKinley Tariff of 1890. William McKinley, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee worked with John Sherman to create a package that could both pass the Senate and receive the President's approval.

Under the Act, the federal government purchased millions of ounces of silver, with issues of paper currency. It became the second-largest buyer in the world, after the British Crown in India, where the Indian rupee was backed by silver rather than gold. In addition to the $2 million to $4 million that had been required by the Bland–Allison Act of 1878, the US government was now required to purchase an additional 4.5 million ounces of silver bullion every month. The law required the Treasury to buy the silver with a special issue of Treasury (Coin) Notes that could be redeemed for either silver or gold. Gresham's law then took over. The artificially overvalued currency (silver) drove the artificially undervalued currency (gold) out of circulation. In the metals markets, silver was worth less than the government's legal exchange rate for silver vs. gold. So, investors bought silver, exchanged it at the Treasury for gold dollars, and then sold these gold dollars in the metals market for more than they had paid for the silver. They took the profits on this transaction and bought more silver. They did this over and over. This would continue until the Treasury ran out of gold. After the Panic of 1893 broke, President Grover Cleveland oversaw the repeal of the act to prevent the depletion of the government's gold reserves.

In 1890, the price of silver dipped to $1.16 per ounce. By the end of the year, it had fallen to $0.69. By December 1894, the price had dropped to $0.60. On November 1, 1895, US mints halted production of silver coins, and the government closed the Carson City Mint. Banks discouraged the use of silver dollars. In fact, the years 1893-95 had the lowest productions of Morgan dollars for the entire series, creating several scarce coins.

Tariff Act

Tariff Act can refer to the following:

United States

Hamilton tariff (1789)

Morrill Tariff (1861)

Tariff of 1883

McKinley Tariff (1890)

Wilson–Gorman Tariff Act (1894)

Dingley Act (1897)

Payne–Aldrich Tariff Act (1909)

Revenue Act of 1913

Fordney–McCumber Tariff (1922)

Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act (1930)

Reciprocal Tariff Act (1934)

Trade and Tariff Act of 1984Other countries

Isle of Man (Customs) Acts (1874)

Tariff in United States history

The tariff history of the United States spans from 1789 to present. The first tariff law passed by the U.S. Congress, acting under the then-recently ratified Constitution, was the Tariff of 1789. Its purpose was to generate revenue for the federal government (to run the government and to pay the interest on its debt), and also to act as a protective barrier around newly starting domestic industries. An Import tax set by tariff rates was collected by treasury agents before goods could be unloaded at U.S. ports.

Tariffs have historically served a key role in the nation's foreign trade policy and as a source of federal income. Tariffs were the greatest (approaching 95% at times) source of federal revenue until the Federal income tax began after 1913. For well over a century the federal government was largely financed by tariffs averaging about 20% on foreign imports.

Tariffs are now employed, among other cases, in the present trade war with China.

Thomas Bowman (Iowa politician)

Thomas Bowman (May 25, 1848 – December 1, 1917) was a local official, newspaper publisher, and one-term Democratic U.S. Representative from Iowa's 9th congressional district. Benefiting from an electoral backlash in 1890 against Republicans for their support of the McKinley Tariff, Bowman's election was a rare nineteenth century Democratic win in traditionally Republican southwestern Iowa.

Born in Wiscasset, Maine, Bowman moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1868. A bachelor, he engaged in mercantile pursuits. In 1875, 1877 and 1879 he was elected treasurer of Pottawattamie County. He served as mayor of Council Bluffs in 1882.

In 1883, he purchased a controlling ownership of the Council Bluffs Globe newspaper. Under his ownership, the Globe identified itself as a Democratic newspaper. While publishing and editing the Globe, he was appointed postmaster of Council Bluffs in 1885, serving until his resignation in 1889.

In 1890 two Democrats other than Bowman ran for their party's nomination for the U.S. House seat then held by Republican Joseph Rea Reed. However, at the 9th district's convention, Bowman was drafted and nominated instead. After defeating Reed in the general election as part the Democratic Party's first nationwide congressional landslide against the Republican Party (and first majority in Iowa's House delegation), Bowman served in the Fifty-second Congress. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1892, explaining that "my private business demands my undivided attention and I can only continue in public office at a great personal sacrifice." In all, he served in Congress from March 4, 1891 to March 3, 1893.

After returning to Council Bluffs and the Globe, he was again the postmaster of Council Bluffs from 1904 to 1908. He also engaged in railroad contracting.

Bowman died in Council Bluffs, on December 1, 1917. He was interred in Pine Grove Cemetery in Dresden Mills, Maine.

William B. Allison

William Boyd Allison (March 2, 1829 – August 4, 1908) was an early leader of the Iowa Republican Party, who represented northeastern Iowa in the United States House of Representatives before representing his state in the United States Senate. By the 1890s, Allison had become one of the "big four" key Republicans who largely controlled the Senate, along with Orville H. Platt of Connecticut, John Coit Spooner of Wisconsin and Nelson W. Aldrich of Rhode Island.

Born in Perry, Ohio, Allison established a legal practice in Dubuque, Iowa and became a prominent member of the nascent Iowa Republican Party. He was a delegate to the 1860 Republican National Convention and won election to the House of Representatives in 1862. He served four terms in the House and won election to the Senate in 1872. He became chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, serving for all but two years between 1881 and 1908. Three different Republican presidents asked Allison to join their Cabinet, but Allison declined each offer. A significant number of delegates supported his presidential nomination at the 1888 and 1896 Republican National Conventions.

Allison emerged as a centrist and pragmatic leader in the Senate, and he helped pass several important bills. The Bland–Allison Act of 1878 restored bimetallism, but in a less inflationary manner than had been sought by Congressman Richard P. Bland. A prominent advocate of higher tariffs, Allison played a major role in the passage of the McKinley Tariff and the Dingley Act. He also helped pass the Hepburn Act by offering the Allison amendment, which granted courts the power to review the Interstate Commerce Commission's railroad rate-setting. Allison sought a record seventh term in the 1908, but died shortly after winning the Republican primary against progressive leader Albert B. Cummins.

Wilson–Gorman Tariff Act

The Revenue Act or Wilson-Gorman Tariff of 1894 (ch. 349, §73, 28 Stat. 570, August 27, 1894) slightly reduced the United States tariff rates from the numbers set in the 1890 McKinley tariff and imposed a 2% income tax. It is named for William L. Wilson, Representative from West Virginia, chair of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, and Senator Arthur P. Gorman of Maryland, both Democrats.

Supported by pro-free trade members of the Democratic Party, this attempt at tariff reform imposed the first peacetime income tax (2% on income over $4,000, or $88,100 in 2010 dollars, which meant fewer than 1% of households would pay any). The purpose of the income tax was to make up for revenue that would be lost by tariff reductions. The democrats under the Cleveland administration wanted to move away from the protectionism proposed by the McKinley tariff while Cleveland was still in office. By coincidence, $4,000 ($88,100 in 2010 dollars) would be the exemption for married couples when the Revenue Act of (October) 1913 was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, as a result of the ratification of the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in February 1913.

The bill introduced by Wilson and passed by the House significantly lowered tariff rates, in accordance with Democratic platform promises, and dropped the tariff to zero on iron ore, coal, lumber and wool, which angered American producers. With Senator Gorman operating behind the scenes, protectionists in the Senate added more than 600 amendments that nullified most of the reforms and raised rates again. The "Sugar Trust" in particular made changes that favored itself at the expense of the consumer.

President Grover Cleveland, who had campaigned on lowering the tariff and supported Wilson's version of the bill, was devastated that his program had been ruined. He denounced the revised measure as a disgraceful product of "party perfidy and party dishonor," but still allowed it to become law without his signature, believing that it was better than nothing and was at the least an improvement over the McKinley tariff.

The Wilson-Gorman Tariff attracted much opposition in West Texas, where sheepraisers opposed the measure. A Republican, George H. Noonan, was elected to Congress from the district stretching from San Angelo to San Antonio but only for a single term. Among Noonan's backers was a former slave, George B. Jackson, a businessman in San Angelo often called "the wealthiest black man in Texas" in the late 19th century.

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