The Atlantic

Trump’s Protectionist Economic Plan Is Nothing New

The founding fathers advocated taxing imports to protect American manufacturers. Will it work in a modern economy?
Source: Evan Vucci / AP

In a way, President-elect Donald Trump sees the world the way America’s founding fathers did. Like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Trump wants to protect American manufacturers by taxing products made overseas and sold in the United States. Alexander Hamilton, the country’s first treasury secretary, wrote to Congress in 1791 in his Report on Manufactures, that “by enhancing the charges on foreign articles, they enable the national manufacturers to undersell all their foreign competitors.” Trump, taking a similar view, said he would

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