Portrait of Henry George

Henry George on a “free trade America” as the real city set on a hill (1886)

Found in: Protection or Free Trade

The American free trade advocate Henry George (1839-1897) thought the best way to spread the idea of liberty was not the use of “steelplated” naval vessels or “death-dealing air ships” but the removal of all “impediments to trade and travel”:

Free Trade

In throwing open our ports to the commerce of the world we shall far better secure their safety than by fortifying them with all the “protected” plates that our steel ring could make. For not merely would free trade give us again that mastery of the ocean which protection has deprived us of, and stimulate the productive power in which real fighting strength lies; but while steel-clad forts could afford no defense against the dynamite-dropping balloons and death-dealing air ships which will be the next product of destructive invention, free trade would prevent their ever being sent against us. The spirit of protectionism, which is the real thing that it is sought to defend by steelplating, is that of national enmity and strife. The spirit of free trade is that of fraternity and peace. …

And a republic wherein the free-trade principle was thus carried to its conclusion, wherein the equal and unalienable rights of men were thus acknowledged, would indeed be as a city set on a hill.