1930: 75 Years Ago

Overprotection

On June 17 President Herbert Hoover signed a law that was meant to avoid a nationwide depression but instead created one. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act boosted already high tariffs by 50 to 100 percent, to their highest levels in history, on virtually every American product that faced competition from abroad. Supporters confidently expected the act to fix the economic problems that had resulted from the previous autumn’s stock market crash. As the Senate’s Republican majority leader said during debate, “Within a year . . .

Land Of The Free Trade

Foreign trade—import and export alike—has been indispensable in building America from the very start, and many of our worst economic troubles have arisen when that trade wasn’t free enough. A historic overview.

It is not a coincidence that Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and what would one day be the world’s wealthiest nation should both have burst upon the global scene in 1776. Read more »