After President Warren Harding's (1921–1923) inauguration in 1921 he asked Congress for emergency tariff legislation, stating "I believe in the protection of American industry, and it is our purpose to prosper America first." By the following year Congress completed a comprehensive tariff revision, The Fordney-McCumber Tariff Act. The law represented a return to pre-World War I (1914–1918) protectionism of the United States amid fear that European producers could undersell U.S. manufacturers. The Fordney-McCumber Tariff raised average duties (import taxes) on all imported goods 15.2 percent in 1922, and up to 36.3 percent in 1923. The tariff effectively raised the average import tax on goods 138 percent in two years. All data collected about the impact of the Fordney-McCumber Tariff suggests it did not have the desired effect on the U.S. economy. In fact the quantity of imports continued to rise. Analysis suggests that global economic conditions in the world after World War I exerted a greater negative impact on trade than did the high Fordney-McCumber "protective" tariff. This measure is perhaps the most blatant example of the Harding administration's efforts to make the United States "The Unconditional Most Favored Nation" in the world, seeking both to reduce the profitability of foreign imports and to pursue retaliation against other countries that sought to limit U.S. exports.
See also: Protectionism, Tariff