Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Economics

First Advisor

Peter Ho

Second Advisor

Jing Sun

Third Advisor

Yavuz Yasar

Fourth Advisor

Robert Urquhart


Economic nationalism, Mercantilism, National security, Trade liberalism, Trump


This study will explore the Trump administration’s views of national security as expressed through its international trade policy and ask whether the U.S. is now a mercantilist, a liberal, or an economically nationalist nation. This study will define mercantilism, liberalism and economic nationalism turning for assistance to the writings of Alexander Hamilton, Adam Smith, and Friedrich List.

The study will then explore how those concepts may have been revealed in America’s international trade policy as the U.S. navigated the economic and national security events of the 20th century, and on to 2016 as President-elect Trump prepared to take office. Next will come a discussion of the defense and trade views of President Trump himself, as well as those of his key economic advisors. The study will then describe how the Trump administration applied its views about national security in four areas of international trade policy -- the control of imports, the regulation of foreign direct investment, the control of exports, and the implementation of emergency economic powers.

The study ends with the conclusion that America’s 20th century history in security and trade revealed it to be mercantilist, liberal and economically nationalist in its approach. It concludes that though Trump altered the balance somewhat between mercantilist and liberal elements in his policies, both elements remained present throughout Trump’s term. Further, the study finds that the U.S. had long expressed its international trade policy in economically nationalist terms, but President Trump’s language was more strident than his recent predecessors. As of this writing, most of the Trump administration’s international trade and security policies remain in place. It seems likely that President Biden’s policies will continue to reflect a balance between mercantilism, liberalism and economic nationalism that has characterized the U.S. approach to security and trade since World War II.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Brett D. Barkey


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

229 pgs


Economics, Economic history