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The imports from southern Europe to the United States also grew in volume throughout this entire period, advancing along with the exports from the United States to that section until 1880, and continuing to increase thereafter, notwithstanding the downward trend of the export trade. In 1880 the imports from France were valued at $69,344,000, and by 1900, though frequently less in value during intervening years, they had risen to $73,012,000. During the same period the imports from Spain grew from $5,052,000 to $5,950,000, Portugal from $770,000 to $3,743,000, and Italy from $10,317,000 TABLE 60.-Imports into the United States of merchandise by continents, 1865–1900.1

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1U. S. Bureau of Statistics, Analysis of the Foreign Trade of the U. S. 1895-1905, p. 138.

to $27,924,000. South European silks, fruits, wines and spirits, laces, jewelry, argols, sulphur, glycerine and chemicals, cotton and woolen goods, furs, leather, gloves, cork, india-rubber, feathers and downs, earthenware, works of art, and ornaments sought and found an American market. The principal obstacle to the entrance of greater quantities of these wares was the high tariff duties, which, with the exception of a few years, were imposed throughout this period.1

1For reciprocal agreements see chap. xli.

The countries of the non-European world in 1900 provided somewhat less than one-half of the total imports entering the United States (48.2 per cent), and their share was very slowly increasing. The imports from many of these countries, consisting mainly of raw materials and tropical and subtropical foodstuffs, were not so generally confronted with hostile American industries and prohibitive tariffs. The progress made, however, was far from universal and was not free from the effects of home competition, high tariffs, and other obstacles to import trade.

From table 60 it is seen that the total volume of imports from each of the non-European continents gradually increased after the close of the Civil War. Relative to the total imports of the country, however, the share received from all North American countries combined was less in 1900 than immediately before or after the war; the proportion coming from South America was no greater in the last decade of the century than during the seventies; and the imports received from Africa were less during the closing decade than during the years 1870 to 1880. The imports from Asia, on the contrary, advanced from 6.8 per cent of the total in 1870 to 16.5 per cent in 1900, and those from Australasia during the same years grew from less than 1 per cent to 4 per cent of the total.

The gains were chiefly in the imports from a few individual countries. Noteworthy increases occurred in the imports from Canada, and during the last decade of the century in the imports from Mexico, in those from Japan, China, Hongkong and the British and Dutch East Indies, Australia and New Zealand, Egypt, and Argentina and Chile.


The period 1865 to 1900 was noteworthy not only for the expansion in the variety and volume of imports and exports, for the multiplication of the sources of imports, and for widening the range of foreign markets, but also for the expansion within the United States of the geographical basis of the foreign trade. Before the Civil War the chief source of domestic exports and the leading markets for imports were the regions along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and the eastern part of the Mississippi Valley, but during this period, as population and industry moved westward, the sources of the foreign trade gradually extended across the entire continent. The acquisition of Hawaii, the Philippines, and Porto Rico opened new regions of American industry and trade even beyond the mainland of the United States, but this occurred so shortly before the close of the century that its effects did not become of appreciable importance until later.

The imports continued to come into the country largely through the ports of the North Atlantic seaboard, but the origin of the import trade had been extended over such a wide area that these ports declined in

rank to some extent. Though the port of New York no longer handled 70 per cent of the country's entire import trade, as in 1860, the value of the imports of merchandise entering that port grew from $281,000,000 in 1870 to $537,237,000 in 1900, and at the close of the century still comprised 63.2 per cent of the total. It was from New York that the chief ocean lines continued to radiate to the older as well as the newer markets of the world, bringing to this port a great variety of imported commodities for distribution throughout the country.

The remaining 36.8 per cent of the import trade was divided among a large number of ports. Two other North Atlantic ports, Boston and Philadelphia, handled increased quantities of imports during the years 1865 to 1900, those of Boston amounting in value to $72,195,000 and those of Philadelphia to $51,866,000 in the last year of the century, or more than those of any other port of entry except New York.

On the South Atlantic seaboard a readjustment occurred after the Civil War. For a short time the import trade of Baltimore was greater than it had formerly been, but after 1877 it made no further progress during the remainder of the century. The trade of Charleston was severely crippled during the war, and when the center of the cottonbelt later moved westward, her import trade never recovered. In 1900 but $1,125,000 worth of imported wares entered Charleston. The imports of Norfolk and Richmond likewise declined to a mere trifle, and those of Newport News and Savannah, though not declining, remained small.

New Orleans continued to be the leading port of importation on the Gulf, but the volume of imports handled was no greater than during the decade preceding the Civil War; indeed, its value was less in 1900 than in 1860. The imports entering Galveston, Mobile, and Pensacola were irregular and small in amount. The import trade of all the Gulf ports was sluggish and barely maintained the position attained before the Civil War; its total value in 1900 was $23,693,000, but 3.3 per cent of the total.

The import trade conducted at the ports of the Pacific coast, though far less valuable than that of the North Atlantic seaboard, was equally flourishing. In 1860 it amounted to but $7,372,000, but it began to advance immediately after the war, gradually rising from $16,241,000 in 1870 to $58,916,000 (or 7.1 per cent of the total imports of merchandise) in 1900. San Francisco became fourth in rank as an importing center, and appreciable gains were made at the Puget Sound ports and at Portland, Oregon. Growing quantities of imports likewise entered through the ports of the Great Lakes and the northern border. While this trade had scarcely begun before the war, it reached the sum of $59,948,000 in 1900. Smaller but increasing quantities of imports entered at interior ports of entry and at the ports along the Mexican border.

In the export trade there was a redistribution of commerce among the various ports of shipment. As compared with 81.5 per cent of the total import trade in merchandise, the ports of the Atlantic coast in 1900 handled but 69.1 per cent of the total exports of merchandise. The exports of these ports advanced rapidly from $293,440,000 in 1870 to $963,569,000 in 1900, but meanwhile the export trade was also growing at many other ports. New York obtained an even greater lead over any other single port than it had before the Civil War, its exports advancing from $196,615,000 in 1870 to $518,834,000 (or 37.2 per cent of the entire export trade of the country) in 1900. In addition to the increase in the production of agricultural and other raw materials, the rise of manufactures as exports caused an unusual flow of commodities to the port of New York, from which the leading steamship lines conducted a service to all the principal markets of the world. The position of New York, however, was less dominant in the export trade than in the import trade.

Substantial progress was made in the export trade conducted at Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, the long-standing rivals of New York. Various South Atlantic ports also became large ports of export, notably Savannah and Newport News, and smaller but increasing quantities of exports were shipped from Norfolk (Virginia), Wilmington (North Carolina), and Brunswick (Georgia). The export trade of Charleston fell almost as rapidly as the import trade, and that city soon. lost precedence over the other South Atlantic ports in both branches of foreign trade.

The Gulf ports handled 18.3 per cent of the total export trade of the country at the close of the century, their shipments rising from a value of $146,020,000 in 1870 to $234,108,000 in 1900. The most rapid progress was made at the port of Galveston, Texas, which before the Civil War was scarcely known. The westward movement of cotton culture gave to this port a cotton trade which during the last decade of the century was barely exceeded by that of New Orleans, and its total export trade advanced from $14,874,000 in 1870 to $85,658,000 in 1900. Meanwhile, the exports of New Orleans, though increasing less rapidly than those of Galveston, grew from $107,500,000 to $115,859,000, retaining for New Orleans second place as an American port exporta



The northern border and Great Lake ports made far greater progress in the export than in the import trade, the value of their exports growing from $15,043,000 in 1870 to $104,267,000 in 1900. The export trade of the Pacific coast at the same time advanced from $14,647,000 to $170,173,000, 55.9 per cent being conducted at San Francisco in 1900, 24.8 per cent at Puget Sound ports, and 11.4 per cent at Portland. The exports shipped directly across the Mexican border likewise advanced from $2,213,000 in 1870 to $22,320,000 in 1900.


The extraordinary increase in exports and imports during the years from 1865 to 1900 caused a greatly enlarged demand for ocean shipping facilities. As is shown in table 61, the total entrances and clearances at American ports of the shipping engaged in the foreign trade of the United States rose from 18,325,000 tons in 1870 to 56,444,000 in 1900, but the foreign trade conducted in American vessels steadily declined. Not only did the American merchant marine fail to recover from the disasters suffered during the Civil War, but it failed even to maintain the position it held when the war closed. The gross tonnage of the American deep-sea fleet declined from 1,602,583 tons in 1865 to 826,694 in 1900; the proportion of the total foreign trade, in terms of the value of exports and imports, carried in American vessels, fell from 35.6 per cent in 1870 to 9.3 per cent in 1900, and the proportion of the total shipping, in terms of entrances and clearances, declined from 47 per cent in 1865 to 22 per cent in the closing year of the century.

TABLE 61.—Vessel tonnage and entrances and clearances in foreign trade of the United States, 1860 to 1900.

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1Compiled from annual reports, U. S. Commissioner of Navigation.

Many forces combined to reduce the American deep-sea carrying trade:

The gradual shift from wood to iron and steel and from sailingvessels to steamships gave an advantage to foreign ship-owners, especially to those of Great Britain. British ship-builders were able to construct iron and steel vessels at less than the cost of construction in American shipyards, and British ship-owners were consequently favored by lower capital costs. American ship-owners desiring to fly the American flag in the foreign trade were prevented from purchasing foreign vessels for American registry by a statute which had been enacted in 1817 and was not repealed until the year 1912. Considerable American capital was invested in vessels flying foreign flags,

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