The Aftermath of Hamilton's "Report on Manufactures"

32 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2003 Last revised: 5 Nov 2010

See all articles by Douglas A. Irwin

Douglas A. Irwin

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 2003


Alexander Hamilton's Report on Manufactures (1791) is a classic document in the history of U.S. economic policy, but its fate in Congress is not well known. It is commonly believed that the report was never implemented. Although Hamilton's proposals for bounties (subsidies) failed to receive support, virtually every tariff recommendation put forward in the report was adopted by Congress in early 1792. These tariffs were not highly protectionist duties because Hamilton feared discouraging imports, which were the critical tax base on which he planned to fund the public debt. Indeed, because Hamilton's policy toward manufacturing was one of encouragement and not protection, those interests shifted their political support from the Federalists to the Jeffersonian Republicans during the 1790s.

Suggested Citation

Irwin, Douglas A., The Aftermath of Hamilton's "Report on Manufactures" (September 2003). NBER Working Paper No. w9943. Available at SSRN:

Douglas A. Irwin (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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