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Americans Injured

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The word in the English language that protectionists use oftenest i "American." They appeal to our selfish and patriotic feelings by linking together as of ten as possible "Protection" and "American." On a banner displayed at the Minneapolis convention by the Boston Home Market club was the following: : American Wages for American Workmenl : : American Markets for American People! i : Protection for American Homes! : Is, ttaen, "protection" the conservator of American workmen, markets and homes? Does it keep out foreigners who come here to compete with Americana and lower wages? Does it make home markets where the American people can snpply themselves with goods at the lowest possible price? Does it protect American homes by reducing the expenses of running them, and thereby encouraging their foundation and making it possible to bring up and edúcate the children, which are the necessary sequence of American homes? Let ns examine history a little. Our present "protection" period began with the high tariff act of July 14, 1862, and was perfected on June 30, 1864- that is, nntil the genius of McKinley took up the subject. On the 4th of July, 1864, before real "protection" was a week old, congress passed and the president signed the "contract labor law," ntitled "An act to encourage immigraion." lts object, as explained by Senaor Sherman at that time, was '"to enourage, facilítate and protect foreign immigration to and within the United States." The avowed object was to keep wages down by importing f oreigners to take the place of American workmen who were then absent fighting for their country, and who on their retnm would thus find their jobs pennanently gone, unless they could underbid the foreigners whom their bosses had imported. That's the way our tariff was planned to work; certainly not rauch "American wages for American workmen" in it. Laws in regard to "contract labor" have been changed since 1864, but the customs of protectionists in importing under contract the cheapest and most degraded labor of Europe and Asia has not changed. There has probably not been a year since 1864 when protected manufacturera did not have agents scouring the Old World offering to advance passage money to those who were so poor and miserable that they were willing to make any change. It is upon this importation of miserable wretches that manufacturers often rely to win wlien American workmen strike for American wages. Not that this class of workmen are always or generally cheaper, but that they are usef ui to lower the wage scale, af ter which American workmen will be taken back into the milis to work at European or Asiatic wages alongside of f oreign workmen. This is one explanation of why wages are lcwer n protected than in unprotected industries. A typical illustration of the class of men brought over by protectionists is found at Homestead, Pa. : "The total population of Mifflin township,which for all practical purposes is nothing more than Homestead, is 11,144, and the total nuinber of foreign bom and native white of foreign parentage is 7,712. Of foreign born males eighteen years of age and over there are 1 ,773 ; of native born males of the same age limit there are 1,747. A precise división of the native and foreign born in the total population shows that in the former classification there are 7,525 (78 of them colored), in the latter 3,619." But many of the males over eighteen hat are classed as Americans are the offspring of foreign parents, and in their ïabits and cnstoms are as much foreign as their foreign born brothers. Thus nearly two-thirds of the "American" workman at work at "American" wages n this leading protected "American" inustry, located at Homestead, are virtually foreigners. Next, does "proteetion" make markets where American people can get the full worth of their money? On the contrary, tariff, whenever effective, always enïances the cost of goods, increases the ost of living, and therefore virtually owers wages. Prices of all protected rticles are always higher in protected !ian in unprotected markets, whether r not there is any economie necessity 'or it. Often when goods are made heaper here than elsewhere our manu'acturers utilize their proteetion and nstain high prices at home, though they ell much cheaper to foreigners. This j s the case with axes, saws, agricultural machinery, cartridges, etc. Drawback I uties also enable foreigners to procure ur manufactures at lower figures than 'e must pay for them. Never, xmder ny circumstances, does "proteetion" inrease the amount of goods that can be rarchased for a certain sum of money. i [any of the leading advocates of proteetion hold that cheapness is a curse, ïat it is un-American, etc.; henee it is j ot strange that they so legislate that ' neither our own nor foreign ! tures ínay be sold cheap here, though ! both may be sold very low abroad. tection, then, makes the worst market ! imaginable in whieh to buy. Now as to this "American home" ! question. Just how does a high tariff i protect American homes? Is it by conraging the importation of contract labor to lower the wages of American labor? This might build up some foreign homes here, but they would occupy the ruins of American ones. Is it by increasing the cost of running a home by making dearer nearly every article from the wedding outfit to the funeral . ehroud? Not a bit of it. Many conples wonld establish homes earlier in life if competition were less severe in the labor maxket and more severe in the goods market. Not only this, but there would be more life, health and happiness and less sorrow in American homes if the curse of protection were removed from the land. In every sense Repnblican proteotion j injures everything that is American and ' discriminates in favor of foreigners. It is also largely a foreign institution, and ; prevails in most of the miserable, low wage foreign nations from which we get our present supply of immigrants. And yet we are told that "protection" is the "American system." Was there i ever a greater travesty on facts got up with greater ingemiity to befog the ■ senses and tickle the vanity of the victims of a great conspiracy?


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News