During the late 1920s and the early 1930s, the United States faced a massive economic decline. Along with high unemployment rates, the country saw the closing of many banks which had a huge impact on international trade. In attempt to bring the country out of the slump, lawmakers passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, also known as the Tariff Act of 1930. The act raised tariffs on imported goods significantly.
In total, more than 1,000 economists appealed to Herbert Hoover to veto the act, yet it passed and went into effect on March 13, 1930. The increasing tariffs caused tensions between the U.S. and foreign trade partners. With other countries refusing to pay the tariff, international trade declined significantly which drove America further into the depression. The high tariffs began changing in 1934 after Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected into office. The president and his Democratic Party put the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act into place which allowed lawmakers to negotiate tariff prices on international trade on a case-by-case basis. This act and those that followed helped to improve international relations and increase trade.Learn more about Modern History