July 4th 1789, The First Act

“Looking back we can recall that the very first act of the first Congress was a tariff, signed, sealed and delivered by George Washington, July 4, 1789. The great majority of that first Congress were farmers.  They lived close to the soil and they understood the physical economy.  No less than five Founding Fathers became presidents, while the Tariff of 1789 was anchored in the statue books.

“George Washington spoke for the free people he led.  Their safety and interests required the nation to promote the manufacturing they needed for self-sufficiency, otherwise they would surrender their independence and sovereignty.   The suggestion that foreigners could provide military supplies was a reflection on the mental acuity of those holding such an opinion, according to Washington.
“John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, none found a bit of dissatisfaction with protection.  Indeed, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and presidents down the line to Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft agreed….”


__ Charles Walter wrote this in 2003 in his introduction to his analysis of money, markets, banks and prosperity in America in his book:  “Unforgiven…. the American Economic system Sold for debt and war”.

I believe what America was then, would be called an “emerging market” today.

Imagine for a quick minute, if we charged a tariff on every gallon of oil imported onto this land of the United States, or for any oil used by our military equal to the value that is lost by its use: carbon injection, pollution, smog, spills, wars, accidents.

While I had the good fortune to meet Charles Walter in 2008, about a year before his passing, I was tremendously impressed with his depth of understanding of the triad of economics, how money works, and prosperity.   You will note that in academia  Economics  and Finance and Small Business are separate majors.    It is just recently that I have had the chance to delve into his book: Unforgiven.   Charles Walter was the publisher and editor of Acres magazine,  www.acresusa.com   a publication concerned from the very early years with organic farming.
He was known for both his work in economics and agricultural economics, which as an academic may share with you, usually have their offices at opposite ends of the campus.


Charles, like Thomas Jefferson and some of the Founders leaned toward the Physiocratic way of thinking.  It was a French creation that honored the production from the land and was good in that realm.   The French version was flawed in some other aspects, namely that they did not value manufacturing.  Some opine today that Capitalism too has its flaws.    Adam Smith published his Wealth of Nations in 1776, which was after the revolutionaries had their tea party, and struck out to remove their colonial shackles, which, by the way were economic.

What relation do you think tariffs have with self-sufficiency, and do you think self-sufficiency  is important?

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