Tariff of 1824: Towards Greater Protection

After having enacted the first true protective tariff in 1816, Congress continued the progression in 1824 by raising rates (over 30% on average) and by including such products as glass, lead, iron and wool in the protected category.

The tariff passed in large measure due to the efforts of Henry Clay. Clay has two distinct reasons for advancing the measure. First, as a matter of pure policy, he hoped to protect and encourage American manufacturing while gaining for the federal government a source of revenue that could be applied to internal improvements that he felt were needed. Secondly, as a politician, he felt that it would gain him support from the northeastern manufacturing states.

This measure has sometimes been called the "Sectional Tariff of 1824." Northern and Western representatives joined together in passing the tariff, turning a deaf ear to complaints from the South. Cotton growers sold heavily to Britain and other European nations, and justifiably feared tariff retaliation. Northern manufacturers and Western farmers produced largely for the domestic market and were more immune from foreign tariff discrimination than Southern growers.

The trend toward protectionism would take a giant leap ahead in the next major tariff legislation, the so-call Tariff of Abominations in 1828.


What is a tariff? Also see tariff table summary.