Postbellum Protection and Commissioner Wells's Conversion to Free Trade
AbstractA moment of consequence to the postbellum U.S. tariff debate was the 'conversion' of David Ames Wells, Commissioner of the Revenue from 1865- 1870, to free trade. When he began his work Wells was a disciple of the eminent American protectionist Henry C. Carey. By the age of forty, however, he had become America's answer to Britain's Sir Robert Peel: a public figure of tremendous influence, who, having changed his mind on the issue, became the standard-bearer for free trade in both the intellectual and political arenas. Half a century and more in the past, when Wells's name was better remembered in American economic and political history, several stories were told of the causes of his conversion: some attributed it ultimately to the force of ideas, some to interests. My purpose is to demonstrate that the unacknowledged but most important cause was Wells's relationship with Edward Atkinson, and Wells and Atkinson's mutual wish to grant effective protection, or net protection, to cotton manufacturers. The story of Wells's conversion that unfolds in the demonstration is not one that disentangles and assigns weights to the contributions of theory and interests. It shows instead how each determined the other.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Method and Hist of Econ Thought with number 0512001.
Length: 78 pages
Date of creation: 06 Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 78
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://18.104.22.168
Wells; David Ames; Atkinson; Edward; free trade; revenue commission; effective protection; net protection;
Other versions of this item:
- Stephen Meardon, 2007. "Postbellum Protection and Commissioner Wells's Conversion to Free Trade," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 39(4), pages 571-604, Winter.
- B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
- B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
- F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
- N71 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-12-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-HPE-2005-12-14 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-INT-2005-12-14 (International Trade)
- NEP-POL-2005-12-14 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Douglas A. Irwin & Peter Temin, 2000.
"The Antebellum Tariff on Cotton Textiles Revisited,"
NBER Working Papers
7825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Irwin, Douglas A. & Temin, Peter, 2001. "The Antebellum Tariff On Cotton Textiles Revisited," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(03), pages 777-798, September.
- Michael Perelman, 1995. "Retrospectives: Schumpeter, David Wells, and Creative Destruction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 189-197, Summer.
- repec:cup:jechis:v:61:y:2002:i:03:p:777-798_03 is not listed on IDEAS
- Douglas A. Irwin, 1989. "Political Economy And Peel'S Repeal Of The Corn Laws," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 41-59, 03.
- Stephen Meardon, 2005. "How TRIPs Got Legs: Copyright, Trade Policy, and the Role of Government in Nineteenth-Century American Economic Thought," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 37(5), pages 145-174, Supplemen.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.