In the antebellum era, Matthew Carey, Philadelphia publisher and journalist, was the most zealous and articulate advocate of a protective tariff to raise the price of imported goods so high that American manufacturers would be guaranteed a closed internal market that would provide them with growth and profits. He believed fervently that this was necessary to build a strong country. Being a refugee Irishman, he wanted the United States to have powerful industry supported by a powerful navy that could compete with the hated Great Britain for the world market in manufactured goods.
In 1834 Carey was an unhappy man. As a result of South Carolina’s stand against the protective tariffs of 1828 and 1832, Congress had just passed a compromise measure that would lower the tariff by stages over the next ten years until it reached a revenue-only level. Carey penned an editorial warning the South that if it did not submit to future increases in the tariff, it would face the righteous fury of the North. He reminded Southerners that the North was superior in manpower and warships and that the long undefended Southern coastline could easily be invaded.
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