Imperial Federation

by Andrew Carnegie
Reviewed date: 2008 Jan 30
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Wow this is boring stuff. In the late 19th century there was a movement in Britain to create a more cohesive empire by giving preferential treatment to trade within the empire. This would require imposing higher tarrifs on goods to and from foreign nations.

Carnegie argues against this policy, laying out the facts. First, Britain's trade with her colonies accounts for only 1/3 of her imports and exports. Giving preferential treatment to this one third at the expense of the bulk of her trade would win her nothing but ill will on the world market.

Further, British colonies trade more with foreign nations than with the British Empire. If Britain tried to impose strict trade rules, her colonies will rebel and quickly move for greater independence. Carnegie points out that Canada and Australia are already bucking for greater independence. Canada in particular trades mostly with the United States, not with Britain. Any move to damage that trade relationship would be more apt to result in a Canadian declaration of independence than in a strengthening of the Empire.

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