Understanding future tropical circulation is fundamental for adapting to its associated changes in precipitation patterns. Observations indicate that the Hadley circulation is widening, causing enhanced subtropical drying. Until now, research has mostly focused on recent and near-future Hadley cell changes, with little exploration into the additional knowledge from past climate states. Here we explore the Hadley circulation in an ensemble of past, present and future climate simulations. Our results find a systematic widening and weakening of the Hadley cell under future scenarios, with a robust narrowing and strengthening during the Last Glacial Maximum. We find a strong association between the Northern Hemisphere temperature gradient and the strength of its tropical Hadley cell. Despite this connection between the tropical circulation and the Arctic, we find little correlation between two of the most well-known model biases: their underestimation of both summer sea ice loss and the expansion of the Tropics.