Opening America's Market: U. S. Foreign Trade Policy since 1776

By Alfred E. Eckes Jr. | Go to book overview
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[W]hat these other countries want is a free and open market with the United States. . . . wherever we have tried reciprocity or low duties we have always been the loser. -- Representative William McKinley, 1890

A reciprocity treaty . . . is a modern invention, which, like the Trojan horse, hides in its belly all of its sinister and miscreated forces. -- Senator Justin S. Morrill, 1885


3
Unreciprocal Trade

Until the 1870s a single agricultural commodity -- cotton -- dominated American exports, frequently generating more than half of merchandise trade earnings. Thirty years later "KingCotton" had lost its crown. In 1900 the United States was a diversified exporter of value-added manufactures as well as commodities. U.S.-built locomotives whistled across Siberia and past the Egyptian pyramids. American farm machinery gathered grain in the world's breadbaskets. American sewing machines, typewriters, phonographs, and wearing apparel sold in markets around the world. Everywhere the mark "Made in America" identified products of superior quality.1

That rapid transformation from a supplier of complementary raw materials to competitive manufactures aroused concern in Great Britain and Europe. In 1879 the editor of the Bristol, England, Times and Mirror lamented:

Where is this American competition to end? The Yankees are threatening to take the leather trade out of our hands now. American locks are superseding those of Staffordshire; American apples are taking the place of those of Somersetshire and Devon in the dye-works. American furniture is to be

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