Independence Day

Tariffs, or taxes on the imports or exports of other countries, have played a pivotal role in American history.  On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed by our Founding Fathers, announcing to the world that the United States no longer wished to to be ruled by King George III and Great Britain.  This declaration was in response to series of taxes imposed on American colonists by King George III, to replenish his war-torn treasury.  The last straw was the Tea Act, which imposed a tax on tea imported to the colonies, designed to give a trade advantage to the East India Tea Company, a British business.  These events gave rise to the Boston Tea Party, where colonists snuck onto ships carrying tea, and dumped the tea into the Boston Harbor.  

The United States, throughout its history, has used tariffs, or the reduction of tariffs, to reinforce relationships with its allies.  On July 4, 1962, 186 years after the Declaration of Independence, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, announcing plans to enter into a trade agreement with European allies.  President Kennedy stated that the “United States will be ready for a declaration of interdependence, that we will be prepared to discuss with a united Europe the ways and means of forming a concrete Atlantic partnership, a mutually beneficial partnership, between the new union now emerging in Europe and the old American union.”  In recent news, the Trump administration has proposed $4 billion in tariffs on the European Union in an effort to rectify trade imbalances.  


Abby Sullivan, Summer Intern