Ronald Reagan was an advocate of free trade throughout his presidency. But just like today, many Americans in the 1980s opposed free trade and pushed for measures that would keep the nation out of the global economy.

Fortunately, Reagan argued persuasively in support of trade, and his success led to rapid growth in the U.S. economy.
He knew that protectionist policies might benefit some industries, but they hurt others.
When the government gets involved in trade, special interests get a chance to game the system. These groups excel at making it hard to tell how their policies harm Americans.