Why was the Embargo Act of 1807 a failure for President Thomas Jefferson?

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Cold War Chronology

The Embargo Act was an effort by President Thomas Jefferson to keep the United States out of European wars. In Europe, Napoleon sweeping across the continent, and almost every European power was aligned against France. Initially, the United States sought to continue trade with Europe, but the European states refused to Acknowledge the United States' neutrality.

Soon, European powers began attacking US merchant ships and impressing United States merchant sailors into foreign navies. In an effort to limit United States involvement in the European conflicts, Jefferson decided to close United States ports to all foreign trade. Instead of engaging with Europe, Jefferson essentially withdrew.

His effort to remain neutral in the face of European warfare was noble but ultimately failed to accomplish his goal. Not only did American traders flout the blockade by smuggling goods in and out of the United States, but before his presidency ended Jefferson rescinded the embargo and allowed trade between the United States and all other countries excluding Britain and France.

Why did France and Britain Declare War in 1803?

In 1802, the Treaty of Amiens was signed by France, Spain, Britain, and the Batavian Republic. The Treaty sought to bring peace to warring European powers by reorganizing numerous colonies, territories, and regions to end the conflict over these regions. The Treaty of Amiens was a failure. The parchment was barely dry when multiple parties began to violate the Treaty. By 1803, Britain and France had declared war with each other.


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