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Protectionism refers to protecting domestic workers and businesses against competition by foreign businesses. The term is often used in a pejorative sense to criticize tariffs and other measures that have the effect of helping Americans in an economic sense. It is related to the philosophy of economic nationalism.

Free trade was historically considered the opposite of protectionism; however, modern free trade agreements (such as NAFTA) consist of the presence of laws rather than the absence of them, which could be interpreted as protectionism.

Protectionist Political Parties in the United States