Most Significant Trade Wars In U.S. History

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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.

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.

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.


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.



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.


Steel Tariff:

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


Iraq War:

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


Trump Tariffs:

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