Trade policy in the United States since 1930 is rigorously evaluated in this major new book. Using public choice analysis to identify and explain protectionist behavior, Charles K. Rowley, Willem Thorbecke and Richard E. Wagner demonstrate why unilateral free trade cannot be achieved through the normal political process and make a strong case for constitutional reform. Trade Protection in the United States analyzes the history of US trade policy to explain why interest groups are able to foster protectionist policies despite the advantages which free trade offers consumers. The authors also explain why the principles of managed trade - as epitomized in the institution of the GATT - are inevitably subverted by protectionism. This important book concludes with a vigorous justification of unilateral free trade and makes a convincing case for protecting the freedom to trade through an amendment to the US constitution. Applying recent developments in constitutional political economy to a key policy issue, this book will be welcomed by economists, political scientists and lawyers as a major statement of the right to trade.