Tariffs: Why Isn’t Trump Cool Like Fellow Protectionist Alexander Hamilton?
Donald Trump is often lumped in with the out of fashion Andrew Jackson, who was a moderately anti-protectionism, signing a bill to cut tariffs but not to sweep them away (and then staring down a Southern secessionist threat from his free-trading Veep John C. Calhoun).
In contrast, Alexander Hamilton-mania is sweeping New York City, due to Ron Chernow’s bestselling biography of the first Treasury secretary, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop Broadway musical adaptation of Chernows’ book, which reimagines the Scottish laird’s grandson as an immigrant Person of Color.
Ideologically, however, on this issue Trump was closer to his fellow New Yorker Hamilton than to Jackson., much less South Carolina’s Calhoun. Hamilton offered the first influential plan for tariff walls to protect American factories in the 1790s and remains the intellectual godfather of American protectionism.