How Did The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Affect The Economy

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The United States boasted the largest economy of the world in the 1920s, but the glory was soon followed by an economic crisis that would devastate the country. The Great Depression was the longest economic downturn the United States had ever experienced and lasted from 1929 to 1939. While there is a lack of consensus on exactly how the Great Depression came to happen, overproduction was a leading factor, along with poor banking practices that eventually led to bank failures, ruining millions of families. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff also greatly contributed to the emergence of this tremendous recession, aggravating world trade, thus weakening economies even more. During World War I, American farmers produced more food than usual to supply the armies and their European allies. Even after the war…show more content…
This law increased custom duties by nearly 50% on imports of more than 20,000 types of goods. Many countries, as a retaliatory measure, also increased their import taxes. As a result, world trade fell sharply, which contributed to exacerbating the Great Depression. With overproduction still occurring, this international standstill only made to intensify the already critical situation. The tariff also increased living costs, limit exports and hurt investors as the high tariffs would make it harder for debtors to pay off loans, continuing to weaken banks. Overproduction and a faulty banking system were two of many factors that led to the Great Depression. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff also served to deteriorate conditions. Although several would argue about the causes of the Great Depression, one thing is for sure: this economic crisis was the most important economic depression of the twentieth century, which was accompanied by significant deflation and an explosion of unemployment and pushed the authorities to a deep reform of the financial
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