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Making America great (the first time): U.S. economic nationalism in historical perspective

Nations and Nationalism

Published online on


["Nations and Nationalism, Volume 28, Issue 1, Page 66-81, January 2022. ", "\nAbstract\nSupporters of Donald Trump often frame his protectionist policies as part of a venerable economic nationalist tradition. This paper examines the process which allowed this historical narrative to form. Examining the history of U.S. economic nationalism, it argues that during the nineteenth century, that tradition became increasingly defined by ‘tariff fixation’, an emphasis on high tariffs to the exclusion of other more effective means for supporting national development. This led the reduction of high tariffs after the 1930s to be viewed as a ‘great betrayal’ of the United States, a narrative that has been of great use to contemporary right‐wing populists.\n"]