Colored People and The Tariff


"The colored people and the workingmen of the country generally never had a better chance for improving their condition than at the late election.  The issue was sharply defined between low taxes and high taxes, and free market and restricted market.  If a poor man is required to pay one-third of all he can earn to support monopolies and trusts, it is evident he must find it difficult to make both ends meet.  The promise of a better market and higher wages does not compensate for the higher cost of living.  If a poor man is required to pay indirectly $20 a year for every member of his family to support the present high tariff, at the end of the year he must find his surplus small.                                                                                                                                          And this is exactly the position in which every colored man now finds himself.  He has worked hard, and yet he finds his labor has barely supported his family.  Where his money has gone he finds it difficult to tell; but that he has saved little he knows.  Republican leaders urged that with the increase of manufacturers, promoted by the tariff, a better market through through the increase of immigration and population, prices would improve, lands would appreciate, and wages would be higher…." 

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One Response to Colored People and The Tariff

  • Editor says:

    The tariff was one issue where party, as well as regional attitudes toward the use of government power, made some difference.  Republicans believed in using the state to support business interests and stood for a high protective tariff.  The tariff would protect American businessmen, wage earners, and conceivably farmers from the competition and products of foreign labor.  Democrats stressed that a low tariff exemplified the “economic axiom . . . that the government is best which governs least.” Laissez faire  The improvements in transportation that made it easier for farmers in Australia, Canada, Russia, and Argentina to sell their produce in western European markets and increased the competition faced by Americans seeking to sell their produce abroad.  Cotton producing Southerners opposed the protective tariff, most Northerners fearing the competition of foreign grain producers, favored it.