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THE PANAMA CANAL TOLLS CONTROVERSY
LOUIS TAYLOR MERRILL
A Thesis Submitted for the Degree of
MASTER OF ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
BACKGROUND OF THE FREE TOLLS CONTROVERSY.
There are those who have hailed the election of November,
1920, as the sunrise of a new national era.
It brought the re
publican administration into power by the greatest popular ma
jority in the history of the republic. The Wilsonian brand of beneficent internationalism, strikingly the plaything of imper
ialistic ambitions of the other powers at the peace table, has
been, temporarily at least, marked with an unmistakable taboo of disfavor. The current of the time is bearing the new admin
istration back into the narrow and more definitely prescribed
channels of nationalism,
The slogan "America first" will fur
nish the key to the manner in which many problems will be
Bolved by the majority in power during the next four or eight
Among leading questions facing the administration are
those connected with the Panama canal.
The mollification of
Colombia for the manner in which she lost the territory on
which the canal was constructed is not the only Panama issue to
The question of tolls exemption for American
vessels thrusts itself prominently forward.
party unequivocally has pledged itself to a restoration of the exemption privilege that was incorporated in the original Panama
act of August 24, 1^12.
The plank in the national platform of
1020 on this subject reads:
" We recommend that all snips engaged in coastwise trade
and all vessels of the American merchant marine shall pass