For a Kinder, Gentler Society
William McKinley
Apostle of Protectionism
  • Quentin R. Skrabec, Jr.
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William McKinley  . Apostle of Protectionism
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President McKinley is portrayed as a puppet of the robber barons. Yet he was much admired by immigrant steelworkers and inspired an unlikely following among laborers. He believed that a strong American industry was the beating heart of our democracy and he fought for protective tariffs from the beginning; the growth of American industry in the late 19th century bears him out. McKinley is a president worth re-considering.

About the Author

Dr. Skrabec moved from a successful career in industrial management (at LSE/LTV Steel, Jessop Steel and National Steel) to serving as an Associate Professor of Business at the University of Findlay, OH, since 1998.

Skrabec has published over fifty articles on history, industrial history and business, and five books on business, industry and management. For twenty years Prof. Quentin Skrabec has been researching the history of America’s industrialization and the key figures who moved the process forward. Dr. Skrabec has published a series of biographies at Algora, followed by a broader study of the policies that have dealt such a blow to American industry in general. 

Skrabec is a native Pittsburgher with a strong background in the local stories and heroes.

About the Book
William McKinley was the first US president to address globalization; his legacy in protectionism and immigrant labor offer lessons for the current era. He orchestrated an alliance between big business and the American worker that ushered in one...
William McKinley was the first US president to address globalization; his legacy in protectionism and immigrant labor offer lessons for the current era. He orchestrated an alliance between big business and the American worker that ushered in one of the greatest periods of growth ever known in the US economy. Yet McKinley has been in the shadow of his successor Theodore Roosevelt for over a hundred years.
As Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, McKinley had forged a tariff bill in 1888 that united a nation that was still divided between North and South, East and West. His continued efforts to support free trade, protected by managed markets in the tradition of Henry Clay, and worker benefits like those provide by George Westinghouse, led to a great economic compromise.
Further, with revolutionary, visionary rhetoric laden with America’s “economic manifest destiny” he appealed to everyone from the steelworkers of Pittsburgh to the New York bankers. He articulated a uniting philosophy: “Free trade in the United States is founded upon a community of equalities and reciprocities…[F]ree foreign trade admits the foreigner to equal privileges with our citizens. It invites the product of foreign cheap labor to this market in competition with the domestic, representing better paid labor” [albeit with tariffs to protect that domestic product].
McKinley’s vision built the industrial base of the nation. By the end of his presidency the American steel, glass, rubber, oil, machinery and electrical appliance industries dominated the world.
He was one of America’s most popular presidents. As his funeral train crossed the nation in 1901, factory workers and captains of industry alike stood along the rails to mourn him. Never since has such a political alliance between labor and management been forged.
He was the last president to build a voting alliance between laborers, immigrant workers, and capitalists. That alliance was marred by famous labor strikes and the building of great trusts, yet he still managed to sweep the labor votes in the great industrial centers – due to his belief in reciprocity and protectionism.
McKinley’s role as a “dinner pail” Republican offers insights into how America can approach today’s globalization with the best interests of the “home team” in mind.
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May 2008 Reference & Research Book News | More »

Pages 284
Year: 2007
LC Classification: E711.6.S57
Dewey code: 973.8’8092—dc22
BISAC: HIS036040
BISAC: BUS013000
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-576-8
Price: USD 23.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-577-5
Price: USD 34.95
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