Is “Buy American”–A New Policy?

“Buy American” is not a new slogan (or law).

“Economic Patriotism: 3-in-4 U.S. Voters Say It’s ‘Important’ to Buy American.” August 13, 2018.  ¹

“The Buy American Act (“BAA”, originally 41 U.S.C. §§ 10a–10d, now 41 U.S.C. §§ 83018305) passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Hoover.” ¹

Recently, by Executive Order; April 18, 2017: “Buy American, Hire American”–“The policy of our government is to aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job. We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure more products are stamped with those wonderful words–Made in the USA.”–President Donald J. Trump.

John Wanamaker, the Christian Merchant–A “Practical Endeavor”

IN 1904: “When the Philadelphia Store (Wanamaker’s–then the largest retailer in America) inaugurated American Week, October 17, 1904, giving over the store’s displays to American-made goods and exploiting American products, it received many telegrams from United States Senators and Governors of States, some of which follow”:

  1. I approve most heartily of your practical endeavor to persuade Americans to make use of American goods, and I sincerely hope that success may crown your efforts. Wm. P. Frye, (R); U. S. Senator from Maine.
  2. Any movement that tends to encourage the use of American goods in preference to foreign, deserves the support of all patriotic citizens. You are doing a work that will be of inestimable value to the best interests of our country. J. H. Gallinger, (R); U. S. Senator from New Hampshire.
  3. You are to be congratulated on the policy adopted for promoting the development and extension of trade in American goods. Every effort in this direction is for the welfare of the country at large. John F. Dryden, (R); U. S. Senator from New Jersey.
  4. Your method of setting forth and emphasizing the value of domestic products deserves commendation of our people. The impetus of your initiative movement will be felt through the country, resulting in appreciation by consumers of the superiority and cheapness of American products and giving encouragement to the manufacturers who aim to make their products conform in quality, mode of preparation and prices, to the tastes and requirements of the American people, and believe they are by right entitled to preference in American markets. They therefore demand that the Government shall effectually protect our people and themselves against competition by adulterated and falsely labeled goods. THOMAS R. BARD, (R); U. S. Senator from California.
  5. I APPROVE most heartily of your practical endeavor to persuade Americans to make use of American goods, and I sincerely hope that success may crown your efforts.—Hon. Wm. P. Frye, (R); U. S. Senator from Maine, in a telegram to the Philadelphia Wanamaker Store, October, 1904.
  6. YOUR plan to advance American manufactures by a classified display of domestic production by States must awaken a new interest in the high quality of our production, both in material and workmanship. You deserve the support and encouragement of every loyal American. The proposal is worthy of the great commercial enterprise which has carried your name into every home in our country. —Hon. Robt. M. LaFollette, (R); United States Senator from Wisconsin, in a telegram to the Philadelphia Wanamaker Store, October, 1904.
  7. I congratulate you heartily on your campaign in the interest of manufactured products of the United States. The movement is patriotic, and undoubtedly will prove fruitful in industrial results. John H. Mitchell, (R); U. S. Senator from Oregon.
  8. Your efforts to favor manufactured products of the United States is very laudable. Will result in great benefit. Wish you great success. W. A. Clarke, (D); U. S. Senator from Montana.
  9. Your wholesome policy of specializing on American products is most commendable and as illuminating as a world’s fair. T. C. Platt,  (R); U. S. Senator from New York.
  10. You are doing good work. The United States should manufacture everything her people needs. Levi Ankeny, (R); U. S. Senator from Washington.
  11. Retailers are responsible for the unnatural foreign goods fad. I heartily approve of your efforts to counteract this delusion, which should have been dispelled years ago. Chas. M. Herreid, (R); Governor of South Dakota.
  12. I CONGRATULATE you on the broad Americanism which prompts you to give over your stores for the week of October 17 to a display of the products of American manufactures. I am in hearty sympathy with the motive which thus prompts you to exploit our own products, and am sure it will have a stimulating effect upon American industry. Hon. Benjamin B. Odell, Jr.,  (R); Governor of New York, in a telegram to the Philadelphia Wanamaker Store, October, 1904.”–Golden Book of the Wanamaker Stores: Jubilee Year, 1861-1911; By Joseph Herbert Appel, Leigh Mitchell Hodges; 1911.
“Every Christian a Preacher.”

“I am often asked ‘Why I keep up my interest in church and Sunday-school work. With the same amount of reason I might be asked, ‘Why do I eat or why do I sleep?

Because I find one is just as necessary to my well-being as the other. I could eat well and sleep well and yet be a very miserable man without the spiritual uplift that comes only from an attendance upon the divine ordinances.

I have grown up from young manhood into mature life, along with hundreds of members of the church and Sunday-school, and I count it one of the great privileges of my life to touch shoulders with the earnest Christian men, who are diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.

I have made it the rule of my life to be in my regular place each Lord’s Day when in health and in the country. Thus by example, to encourage every officer and member of the Sunday-school with the importance of regular attendance and always being on time.

The man in business life who ignores the Bible and its teachings, is casting aside the most important thing for the things of minor importance;

Very truly yours, John Wanamaker.” Religious, Civic and Political figure, U.S. Postmaster General, Merchant, Philanthropist;–The Christian Workers Magazine, Volume 18; September, 1917. John Wanamaker 1838-1922,  “The Christian Merchant.”