President Trump’s newly implemented tariffs against China have escalated the trade war between the two countries, continuing a long history of American trade conflicts with wide-ranging consequences. The Onion looks back at the most significant trade wars in U.S. history.


Boston Tea Party:

As part of an ongoing battle against British “taxation without representation,” the Sons of Liberty punished the ocean by dumping a bunch of tea into it.

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Smoot-Hawley Act:

These 1930 agricultural and industrial tariffs are seen today as not only further cratering the Great Depression economy by inspiring retaliatory foreign tariffs, but also triggering a series of devastatingly incomprehensible editorial cartoons.

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Chicken Tax:

The 1964 faceoff between Lyndon Johnson, West Germany, and France over import prices led to a sharp decline in the use of chicken as a building material.

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Japanese Trade War:

In the 1980s, President Reagan doubled the import prices of Japanese electronics after his Sony Walkman ate his Bon Jovi cassette tape.

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Oilers-Rangers:

The New York Rangers lay siege to the Canadian city of Edmonton for several months in 1991 before the Oilers agree to surrender star center Mark Messier.

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Steel Tariff:

Rising steel prices in 2002 caused by steep tariffs put an end to the medieval armor suit industry for good.

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Iraq War:

This conflict erupted in 2003 over a dispute about who had the right to trade Iraq’s oil.

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Trump Tariffs:

Trump left the solar power industry reeling after placing new tariffs on the sun.

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