Henry Clay made protectionist tariffs the central point of the economic program. The politician, who was the primary tool of English economic dominance, established the principle of free trade, which was considered the pinnacle of economic theory at the time. Only because England’s industry was unafraid of international competition was trade freedom conceivable. To apply this theory to a young developing country would be to condemn it to a life of continual reliance, adversity, and poverty. As a result, Clay was an enthusiastic defender of industrial protectionism.
The country’s future lay in the predominant development of national industrial production, ensuring stable sales of its own goods on the domestic market. Consequently, the protection of the interests of industrialists on the part of the state consisted of the adoption by legislators of high customs duties on foreign manufactured goods in the reduction of raw exports. Thus, the development of production would occur by protecting the industry from foreign competition.