Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XI: TARIFF FREEDOM - The Comedy of Protection
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CHAPTER XI: TARIFF FREEDOM - Yves Guyot, The Comedy of Protection 
The Comedy of Protection, trans. M.A. Hamilton (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1906).
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Two tariffs—Law of January 11, 1892—Saving raw materials.
When it was clear that the landowners had profited by tariff freedom, the manufacturers asked for it too. For a longer or shorter period, the commercial treaties stood in the way of the Protectionist dreams: they must go. M. Méline had succeeded M. Pouyer-Quertier as Protectionist leader. A man devoid of all general ideas, he was ready to promise an equal amount of protection to industries representing diametrically opposite interests. It was decided to replace the commercial treaties by a maximum and minimum tariff; the Government would apply the minimum tariff to the countries giving France most favoured nation treatment, but in no case could the duties be lowered below the scale fixed by the tariff; to other nations the maximum tariff applied.
This system was inaugurated by the law of January 11, 1892, and passed by the Chamber elected in 1889. The Protectionists had left no stone unturned to ensure a majority; in every district reactionaries bargained with the Republican candidates. “Vote for the duties, and we will support you.” Some Protectionists ran labour candidates, paying their expenses in return for their promise of support. Very few Republicans were strong enough to resist; the majority salved their consciences by saying, “After all, unless we vote Protectionist we shan’t get in; and we must not let an enemy of the Republic win the seat.” To keep their seats they guaranteed the rent of the landlord and the profits of the manufacturer. It was a wonderful sight to see a large majority whose interests were entirely opposed to Protection enthusiastically overwhelming with presents an insignificant majority consisting almost exclusively of their political opponents.
The Free Traders had to concentrate all their energies to keep the so-called raw materials duty free—wool, raw cotton, undressed skins, &c. To keep raw silk free, bounties had to be given to silk-growers and spinners. On all manufactured articles duties were raised. It was a triumph for the reaction.