Economic Foreign Policy of the United States

By Benjamin H. Williams | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII
HISTORICAL ASPECTS OF COMMERCIAL DIPLOMACY
The policies of the United States in support of foreign trade have been largely shaped in behalf of the two economic activities: shipping and manufacturing. At times, it is true, the producers of natural products have exerted an influence which has had its effects in Washington, but this impulse has not been consistent and perhaps at no time has it been dominant. In the early decades of American history, shipping was the chief care of our commercial diplomats, while in recent years the safeguarding of markets for manufactured goods has been of far more concern. In behalf of first one and then the other of these activities, the American government has since the Revolution been almost continually interested in the politics of foreign trade.In order that the reader may see panoramically the influence of commerce in American politics the following aspects of the subject will be reviewed briefly:
1. The shipping period:
The struggles against the mercantilist system.
The advocacy of neutral rights and the freedom of the seas.
The drive against the markets of the Far East.
2. The period of manufacturing.
The demand for special favors.
Pan-Americanism as an agency of trade promotion.
The demand for equal treatment.

THE YOUNG NATION STRUGGLES AGAINST THE MERCANTILLIST SYSTEM

Back in the pre-Revolution days the British mercantilist laws had tended to place an exasperating check on the commerce of the colonists. Parliament had stipulated that certain commodities could not be exported from the colonies except to Great Britain or her dominions, thus preventing colonial trade with foreign countries. Smuggling, carried on with the support of public opinion, went far to mitigate the rigors of the restrictions, but, nevertheless, the fetters on colonial trade continued to the

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