This introductory chapter discusses the background of the Smoot–Hawley tariff, which President Herbert Hoover signed into law on June 17, 1930. The Smoot–Hawley tariff ranks among the most infamous pieces of congressional legislation of the twentieth century. Although imports were not surging into the country or causing any great problem for the economy, Congress raised tariffs on imported goods with the intention of protecting farmers and manufacturers from what little foreign competition they faced. In doing so, they did not follow any economic logic or consider the interests of consumers and exporters who would be harmed by the tariffs. Instead, they engaged in the most blatant form of pork-barrel politics, catering to the demands of special interests that wanted to limit imports. Not surprisingly, several foreign countries retaliated by imposing duties on U.S. exports. These trade restrictions spread just as the world economy was beginning to sink into a depression. The contribution of the Smoot–Hawley tariff to the collapse of trade and the Great Depression of the 1930s has been debated ever since.
Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.