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Tariff reform: an imperial strategy, 1903-1913

Thompson, A.S. (1997) Tariff reform: an imperial strategy, 1903-1913. The Historical Journal, 40 (04). pp. 1033-1054. ISSN 0018-246x

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Historians of the Edwardian tariff reform movement have disagreed about its aims. This article examines the motivations of the leadership of the Tariff Reform League, which was by far the most influential organization in the tariff lobby. It argues that the League's leaders were more empire-minded than often allowed, and that it was the preferential tariff which they were most determined to promulgate and defend.

Indeed, attempts by the Balfourite wing of the Unionist party to twist tariff reform away from its imperial origins were strongly resisted by the League, and the forces of protection within the organization were also carefully controlled. When the Tariff Reform League finally gave way on the issue of imperial preference in January 1913, it was not because it had suddenly ceased to be concerned about the unity of the empire. Rather, the widespread public hostility to the imposition of food duties showed no sign of diminishing, thus making it difficult to persuade a critical mass within the Unionist party that tariff reform was a politically viable strategy of imperial federation.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 1997 Cambridge University Press.
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of History (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Assistant
Date Deposited: 11 May 2006
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 16:14
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X97007565
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1017/S0018246X97007565
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1197

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