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The Republican Revisionists and U.S. Tariff Policy, 1897-1912
According to Wolman, all revisionists hoped to further American leadership in an open-door world economy. But as their movement developed, revisionists split into two competing groups. One group, the "radical" revisionists, wished to use lower tariffs to restrain the growing power of corporations. Led by agricultural implement manufacturer H.E. Miles of Wisconsin, the radical revisionists hoped that freer importation of goods such as steel bars and billets would break the growing strangehold of U.S. Steel and International Harvester on markets for intermediate goods and restore more competitive pricing.
The second group, or "cooperationists," accepted the emerging hegemony of large corporations, which were beginning to supplant traditional American propriety enterprises. Encouraged by Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, these revisionists worked to rationalize the emerging corporate market system and U.S. foreign commercial relations without promoting anticorporate activism.
Wolman suggests that through both consensus and conflict, the Republican revisionists of the McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft era laid the foundation for modern systems of liberal trade. In detailing how they did so, Wolman offers new insights not only on the tariff question but also on related concerns in U.S. foreign economic policy, including business-state relations, corporate development, international treaty making, and imperialism.
Originally published 1992.
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