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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 87 of historian Larry Schweikart’s 2000 book, The Entrepreneurial Adventure: A History of Business in the United States [2]; here, Larry is writing about early-19th-century American tariffs on textiles (original emphases):

All too often, historians stumble into explanation of the past only as it occurred, without appreciating the numerous paths available at the time crucial events took place. According to this logic, because a tariff existed and because the textile industry grew as it did, therefore the former caused the latter. But we have no studies of the potential impact on the iron industry, or on the shipping industry, or on the countless industries that never developed because it was more profitable (thanks to the tariff) to manufacture textiles. Had the government not cleared and paved the road to textile production for them, American entrepreneurs surely would have carved out other paths for themselves – some rougher, some smoother.

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