The Mother of Trusts

The Mother of Trusts

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For many years, free trade advocates had argued that the protective tariff bred big business, "the trusts."  The Verdict, a Democratic paper, on July 17, 1899 published this cartoon with that message.  "Abbot Hanna" was Mark Hanna, in 1899 Republican Party Chairman and protectionist Senator from Ohio. Connecting the protective tariff with big business was common in the political rhetoric of the time.   In this view, lowering the tariff would help free ordinary citizens to engage in business against the powerful competition of "the trusts."

William Howard Taft was of this view.  Taft believed that the government should be concerned about the merger movement and the growth of big business.  As a trust-buster, Taft also believed that lowering tariff duties would retard the growth of "trusts."

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