{Empty title} | The Nation

Your information on Hamilton is incomplete and inaccurate. The British had a twenty-year head start on the Industrial Revolution. The tariffs were designed to make British industrial goods more expensive so that infant American industries could be developed as part of the American market. It was Hamilton's desire to have an independent, self sustaining American market that was not dependent on foreign trade. If we had had unlimited trade with Britain, we would have never become a major industrial nation, and Great Britain would not have had our industrial support in two world wars. We would have become a banana republic without the bananas.

Hamilton's "Report on Manufactures" was the blueprint for our economic development. We were a planned economy, and "free trade" had nothing to do with our economic success. No country can have any real development without trade barriers. My generation called a "free trade" relationship between a major industrial nation and an underdeveloped nation "economic imperialism," because there is no independence without economic independence. Hamilton understood the concept, though he never used the term.

PBS had a "biography" on Hamilton that was loaded in favor of Wall Street and ignored his tariff policies. Hamilton's work for the Constitution was a collaborative effort, but he, alone, designed our economic success.