Teaching Students About Hawley-Smoot Tariff
The Hawley-Smoot Tariff, also known as the Tariff Act of 1930, imposed high tariffs on imported goods in an attempt to protect American industries during the Great Depression. The tariff is often cited as one of the factors that exacerbated the economic crisis by encouraging other countries to enact retaliatory tariffs and reducing international trade.
Teaching students about the Hawley-Smoot Tariff is important for several reasons. First, it provides a historical example of the consequences of protectionist trade policies. Students can learn about the effects of tariffs on trade and the economy, and discuss the debate between free trade and protectionism. Second, understanding the Hawley-Smoot Tariff can help students appreciate the interconnectedness of the global economy and the importance of international cooperation. Finally, the tariff also has relevance to current debates about trade policy and globalization.
One way to teach students about the Hawley-Smoot Tariff is to provide a historical overview of the events leading up to its passage. This could include discussing previous attempts by Congress to protect American industry through tariffs, such as the Tariff of 1922. Students could also learn about the political climate at the time, including the debate over government intervention in the economy and the rise of nationalist movements.
Another approach is to explore the effects of the tariff on the American economy and international trade. Students can analyze economic data from the time, such as changes in imports and exports, and discuss the impact of the tariff on different industries and regions of the country. They can also examine the response of other countries, such as Canada and Europe, and the role of the tariff in worsening the global economic crisis.
Finally, students can discuss the lessons that can be learned from the Hawley-Smoot Tariff. This could include a reflection on the benefits and drawbacks of protectionist trade policies, the importance of international cooperation and diplomacy, and the need for governments to balance the interests of different stakeholders, including consumers, producers, and workers.
Overall, teaching students about the Hawley-Smoot Tariff is a valuable opportunity to explore the history and consequences of protectionist trade policies, as well as to engage in current debates about globalization and the role of government in the economy. By understanding the complex factors that contributed to the Great Depression, students can develop a deeper appreciation for the challenges and opportunities of the global economy today.