Reciprocity, 1911: A Study in Canadian-American Relations

Reciprocity, 1911: A Study in Canadian-American Relations

Reciprocity, 1911: A Study in Canadian-American Relations

Reciprocity, 1911: A Study in Canadian-American Relations

Excerpt

This study presents the results of an investigation into the forces underlying and conditioning an experiment in the field of international trade. It attempts to indicate the setting of uneasiness and multiple dissatisfactions on both sides of the Canadian-American border out of which came William Howard Taft's offer and Sir Wilfrid Laurier's acceptance of a reciprocity which as negotiated carried large possibilities of mutual advantage. It surveys the development of opinion and of legislative discussion and action on both sides of the border, culminating in success to the south and in an appeal to the country and failure to the north. An effort is made to clarify the activities of interested parties, political and economic, and to show their influence, through skillful manipulation of the organs of propaganda and public opinion, upon the issue in each country.

As the story proceeds it becomes increasingly apparent that on neither side of the frontier was the question wholly decided upon its merits. To the south reciprocity became a battleground whereon was fought a skirmish in the background of the 1912 presidential campaign and whereon was won a battle for the advancement of the economic interests of the newspaper press; this in addition to whatever benefits the agreement might have brought the country at large. To the north its obvious economic advantages to the producing classes were obscured by a smoke screen of national and Imperial patriotism designed to induce repudiation of the agreement. Behind the scenes the discerning reader will discover at work protected interests and their allies, direfully fearful of any slightest breach in the tariff wall behind which they had grown strong. The whole story gives evidence that the "undefended frontier," of which so much has been written loosely, was in reality defended by something stronger for the moment than bullets, bayonets, and battleships -- an aroused desire for self-sufficiency adroitly fostered by those who could profit by such self-sufficiency.

Acknowledgments may be briefly if sincerely rendered. First place should be given the author's wife, Elizabeth Breckenridge Ellis, who has patiently lived with both reciprocity and one of its students dur-

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