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  Who was the most and least protectionist President ever?
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Author Topic: Who was the most and least protectionist President ever?  (Read 332 times)
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BRTD
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« on: August 11, 2019, 10:24:28 pm »

Most: William McKinley
Least: FDR
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2019, 12:15:55 am »

Most: Hoover
Least: Probably someone like John Tyler, but in terms of actually effecting policy on a global scale, certainly FDR.

McKinley gets a very protectionist reputation from his days in congress, but towards the end of his life his tune was starting to shift as the realization sunk in that America had reached the top in terms of manufacturing and it needed markets to export to. This was coming on the heels of the 1890's Depression, but of course he was killed so we will never know if he was going to shift more in the direction of free trade as a result.

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Old School Republican
Computer89
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 01:21:14 am »

Most : Hoover
Least: George HW Bush
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Epaminondas
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2019, 02:29:01 am »


The government of Mr Freedom Fries wasn't protectionnist?
That's a good one.
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Old School Republican
Computer89
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2019, 02:29:55 am »


The government of Mr Freedom Fries wasn't protectionnist?
That's a good one.

That was George W Bush not George HW Bush
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2019, 01:13:53 pm »


The government of Mr Freedom Fries wasn't protectionnist?
That's a good one.

This comment is dumb on two levels, congrats!
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SlippingJimmy
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2019, 07:37:31 pm »


The government of Mr Freedom Fries wasn't protectionnist?
That's a good one.
Maroon moron. Moroon.
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darklordoftech
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2019, 08:38:00 pm »


The government of Mr Freedom Fries wasn't protectionnist?
That's a good one.

This comment is dumb on two levels, congrats!
Are these the two levels:

1. Wrong Bush
2. “Freedom Fries” was about war, not trade.
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Orser67
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2019, 10:30:17 pm »

Iirc McKinley was the only president to ever write a major tariff bill (though to be clear, he did so prior to serving as president), and as president signed into law a major bill that raised tariffs, so he seems like a reasonable choice for most protectionist. JQA, Buchanan, Lincoln and Hoover also signed major tariff rate increases, but it wasn't the major domestic policy initiative for any of them (and Hoover had actually hoped to decrease tariffs). That does leave Harding, who signed a major increase in tariffs in 1922, but in his career he was never as associated with the tariff as McKinley was.

For free trade, FDR probably had the biggest impact in establishing the free trade era, although Truman and Wilson (by re-establishing the income tax) were also quite important in that regard. 19th century Democrats were also very pro-free trade, so you could reasonably argue for Polk or Pierce, who both signed tariff reductions. You could also argue for Clinton, who held office at a time of low tariffs and further increased international trade by pushing through NAFTA and granted permanent normal trade relations with China.
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2019, 12:39:53 am »

Iirc McKinley was the only president to ever write a major tariff bill (though to be clear, he did so prior to serving as president), and as president signed into law a major bill that raised tariffs, so he seems like a reasonable choice for most protectionist. JQA, Buchanan, Lincoln and Hoover also signed major tariff rate increases, but it wasn't the major domestic policy initiative for any of them (and Hoover had actually hoped to decrease tariffs). That does leave Harding, who signed a major increase in tariffs in 1922, but in his career he was never as associated with the tariff as McKinley was.

For free trade, FDR probably had the biggest impact in establishing the free trade era, although Truman and Wilson (by re-establishing the income tax) were also quite important in that regard. 19th century Democrats were also very pro-free trade, so you could reasonably argue for Polk or Pierce, who both signed tariff reductions. You could also argue for Clinton, who held office at a time of low tariffs and further increased international trade by pushing through NAFTA and granted permanent normal trade relations with China.

Trade protectionism was a cornerstone of Lincoln's economic philosophy, and his administration marked the beginning of a period in which the American System became firmly established as the dominant economic policy for the next several decades.
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Orser67
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« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2019, 05:22:12 pm »

Iirc McKinley was the only president to ever write a major tariff bill (though to be clear, he did so prior to serving as president), and as president signed into law a major bill that raised tariffs, so he seems like a reasonable choice for most protectionist. JQA, Buchanan, Lincoln and Hoover also signed major tariff rate increases, but it wasn't the major domestic policy initiative for any of them (and Hoover had actually hoped to decrease tariffs). That does leave Harding, who signed a major increase in tariffs in 1922, but in his career he was never as associated with the tariff as McKinley was.

For free trade, FDR probably had the biggest impact in establishing the free trade era, although Truman and Wilson (by re-establishing the income tax) were also quite important in that regard. 19th century Democrats were also very pro-free trade, so you could reasonably argue for Polk or Pierce, who both signed tariff reductions. You could also argue for Clinton, who held office at a time of low tariffs and further increased international trade by pushing through NAFTA and granted permanent normal trade relations with China.

Trade protectionism was a cornerstone of Lincoln's economic philosophy, and his administration marked the beginning of a period in which the American System became firmly established as the dominant economic policy for the next several decades.

My exact words were the major domestic policy initiative. In Lincoln's case, he was pro-tariff and did sign tariff increases into law, but during his presidency he was obviously more concerned about slavery and the Civil War than he was about the tariff. Whereas priority number one for McKinley upon taking office was passing a major tariff bill.
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RoboWop
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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2019, 11:45:44 pm »

My exact words were the major domestic policy initiative. In Lincoln's case, he was pro-tariff and did sign tariff increases into law, but during his presidency he was obviously more concerned about slavery and the Civil War than he was about the tariff. Whereas priority number one for McKinley upon taking office was passing a major tariff bill.

I think it would be pretty fair to say that Lincoln's ability to focus on tariff policy was not handicapped through his own choice, and that the Civil War overshadowing his trade agenda does not mean it didn't actually exist. If we are measuring "protectionist" as an attitude or ideal, which is probably the most reasonable interpretation of this question, the President in question doesn't actually need to put that attitude into practice to be the most ardent protectionist.
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