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What Is Free Trade? An Adaptation of Frederic Bastiat's "Sophismes Éconimiques" Designed for the American Reader   By: (1801-1850)

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An Adaptation of Frederick Bastiat's "Sophismes Économiques" Designed for the American Reader



New York: G. P. Putnam & Son, 661 Broadway

The New York Printing Company, 81, 83, And 85 Centre Street, New York



CHAPTER I. Plenty and Scarcity

CHAPTER II. Obstacles to Wealth and Causes of Wealth

CHAPTER III. Effort Result

CHAPTER IV. Equalizing of the Facilities of Production

CHAPTER V. Our Productions are Overloaded with Internal Taxes

CHAPTER VI. Balance of Trade


CHAPTER VIII. Discriminating Duties

CHAPTER IX. A Wonderful Discovery

CHAPTER X. Reciprocity

CHAPTER XI. Absolute Prices

CHAPTER XII. Does Protection raise the Rate of Wages?

CHAPTER XIII. Theory and Practice

CHAPTER XIV. Conflict of Principles

CHAPTER XV. Reciprocity Again

CHAPTER XVI. Obstructed Rivers plead for the Prohibitionists

CHAPTER XVII. A Negative Railroad

CHAPTER XVIII. There are no Absolute Principles

CHAPTER XIX. National Independence

CHAPTER XX. Human Labor National Labor

CHAPTER XXI. Raw Material




Years ago I could not rid my mind of the notion that Free Trade meant some cunning policy of British statesmen designed to subject the world to British interests. Coming across Bastiat's inimitable Sophismes Economiques I learnt to my surprise that there were Frenchmen also who advocated Free Trade, and deplored the mischiefs of the Protective Policy. This made me examine the subject, and think a good deal upon it; and the result of this thought was the unalterable conviction I now hold a conviction that harmonizes with every noble belief that our race entertains; with Civil and Religious Freedom for All, regardless of race or color; with the Harmony of God's works; with Peace and Goodwill to all Mankind. That conviction is this: that to make taxation the incident of protection to special interests, and those engaged in them, is robbery to the rest of the community, and subversive of National Morality and National Prosperity. I believe that taxes are necessary for the support of government, I believe they must be raised by levy, I even believe that some customs taxes may be more practicable and economical than some internal taxes; but I am entirely opposed to making anything the object of taxation but the revenue required by government for its economical maintenance.

I do not espouse Free Trade because it is British, as some suppose it to be. Independent of other things, that would rather set me against it than otherwise, because generally those things which best fit European society ill befit our society the structure of each being so different. Free Trade is no more British than any other kind of freedom: indeed, Great Britain has only followed quite older examples in adopting it, as for instance the republics of Venice and Holland, both of which countries owed their extraordinary prosperity to the fact of their having set the example of relaxing certain absurd though time honored restrictions on commerce. I espouse Free Trade because it is just, it is unselfish, and it is profitable.

For these reasons have I, a Worker, deeply interested in the welfare of the fellow workers who are my countrymen, lent to Truth and Justice what little aid I could, by adapting Bastiat's keen and cogent Essay to the wants of readers on this side of the Atlantic.

EMILE WALTER, the Worker .

NEW YORK, 1866.


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