The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Colwell, Stephen (1800–1871)

  • Henry W. Spiegel
Reference work entry


Stephen Colwell, American protectionist, was born in Virginia (now West Virginia). After practising law, he eventually became a successful industrialist and entrepreneur in Philadelphia, where he was a leading citizen and philanthropist. He was a friend of Henry Carey’s and shared many of Carey’s views, especially his ardent protectionism. Colwell’s appeal for high tariffs on iron manufactures and other goods resounded in many publications. Some of these were addressed to the Presbyterian clergy and he drew on religion to fortify his economic views. Colwell buttressed his appeal by making it part of a wider view of the world that may be characterized as elitist and supportive of high wages but also of inequalities of wealth and status. These were to be offset by a stewardship of wealth, that called for private charity rather than public relief for the poor, which Colwell opposed. High wages and private charity thus became complements of high tariffs.

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry W. Spiegel
    • 1
  1. 1.