IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/h/eme/rehizz/s0363-326820170000033001.html
   My bibliography  Save this book chapter

Reexamining the Origins of the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act

In: Research in Economic History

Author

Listed:
  • Bernard C. Beaudreau

Abstract

It is generally believed that the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act (SHTA) of 1930 was an electoral response on the part of the Republican Party to Midwestern farmers’ concerns in the 1928 general election which via the legislative process (pork-barreling and log-rolling) was transformed into a generalized upwards tariff revision. There are, however, problems with this view, not the least of which is the fact that the farmers themselves were well aware of the fact that higher tariffs would not improve their lot, and hence favored the price support/equalization measures found in the Haugen–McNary Farm Relief Bill. This paper presents an alternative explanation. Specifically, it is argued that the SHTA had its origins in manufacturing states where the demand for a comprehensive upward revision of tariffs was transformed via the electoral process – and not the legislative process – into an omnibus upward tariff revision that included agriculture. The omnibus nature of the bill, it is argued, was intended as both (i) an electoral strategy and (ii) a hedge against near-certain revolt in rural America over anticipated higher prices for manufactures. We show that while successful electorally (i.e., in the 1928 presidential election), the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Bill fell apart in the legislature in the summer of 1929 when 13 Insurgent Republicans broke with the party to vote with the Democrats to lower tariffs on manufactures.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernard C. Beaudreau, 2017. "Reexamining the Origins of the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act," Research in Economic History, in: Christopher Hanes & Susan Wolcott (ed.), Research in Economic History, volume 33, pages 1-18, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:rehizz:s0363-326820170000033001
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/S0363-326820170000033001?utm_campaign=RePEc&WT.mc_id=RePEc
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:rehizz:s0363-326820170000033001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.emerald.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Charlotte Maiorana (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.emerald.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.