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"Shoe and Leather Dealers' Convention" article in The Hampshire Gazette newspaper
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In 1842, the shoe and leather industry was an important source of jobs and income for may people in Massachusetts. This convention was called because of the concern about the lack of tariffs that would help prohibit cheap imports. In 1832, a tariff act was passed which assessed specific rates of taxes to imports. This very unpopular tariff was modified by the Compromise Tariff of 1833, which lowered the tariff rates over a period of ten years to the point where most goods would be taxed at 20%. As this rate approached, members of the Whig Party called for protection from competition from European manufacturers. The speaker quoted here cites prices of goods, as well as claiming that the workers in Europe do not make a living wage, but are subsidized. The Tariff of 1842 was finally passed, and restored protection from cheap European goods by raising the rates to around 40%.
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