This chapter takes a look at how the expansion of foreign trade was the original impetus for the National Association of Manufacturers' (NAM) creation and would remain a critical focus of the organization's activities throughout the twentieth century. NAM's efforts in this area contributed significantly to the development of international capitalism, otherwise known as “globalization.” But it was not smooth sailing. Many NAM members relied on the protective tariff and opposed any kind of reform to it, which they regarded as a “slippery slope” to free trade. Nor was the Republican Party, with which NAM had the most influence, interested in tariff reform. NAM leadership fully supported tariffs, but it also advocated tariff reforms designed to encourage trade, and in this regard it was uncomfortably in alignment with the Democratic Party. So NAM's work in this area was significant less for its influence on government, and more for introducing and acclimating its members to the new norms and values of multinational, internationalist capitalism, thus bringing a largely conservative and parochial clientele into the modern political economy. A forgotten by-product of its efforts was the promotion of and appreciation for cultural diversity and international cooperation.
Keywords: foreign trade, international capitalism, globalization, free trade, tariff reforms, internationalist capitalism, modern political economy, cultural diversity, international cooperation, trade expansion
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