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The Cost of the Embargo Act Business & Marketing Term Paper (Term Paper Sample)


This paper discusses how the embargo act that was meant to punish Britain and france ended up affecting the american economy, especially its industries.


The Cost of the Embargo Act
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The Cost of the Embargo Act
The Embargo act of 1807 was passed during the Napoleonic Wars between Britain and France. It was one of President Thomas Jefferson’s attempts to prohibit any trade between the American ships and any other foreign country CITATION Fen90 \l 1033 (Fenstermaker & Filer, 1990). The act was precipitated by the violation on the American Neutral shipping whereby the war between Britain and France subjected American ships to attacks hence affecting the American trade. Initially, the U.S. merchant ships were subjected to molestation by both French and British warships suspected to be transporting weapons and supplies to their opponents. As a result, Jefferson saw it as a nonviolent resistance to both nations. The act came to effect in December 1807 to March 1809 prohibiting any American Cargo ship sailing to a foreign port CITATION Lou66 \l 1033 (Sears, 1966). While the 1807 Embargo Act was intended to force the France and Britain to respect American rights and also punish them, it seemingly failed and instead, negatively affected America’s economy leading to detrimental effects to its industries.
Events Leading to the Act
Since 1803, France and Britain were at war with each other. During this time, the United States had opted to stay neutral to maintain its trade and communication with all the European countries including Britain and France CITATION Lou66 \l 1033 (Sears, 1966). By 1805, the war had changed into a battle of economic punishment with both countries trying to starve each other. In 1806, France enacted the Napoleon Bonaparte, a law prohibited the trade between Britain and the Neutral countries such as the U.S. making them subject to seizure. Consequently, the American ships were exposed to attacks by pirates. In 1807, Britain also enforced a law restricting trade between the neutral parties and France CITATION Hen86 \l 1033 (Adams, Williams, & Williams, 1986). American ships were forced to check in at British ports before trading with any country. The U.S. was trapped in between the war with both sides attacking its ships.
The battle reached a climax after the high sea capture of the American ship Chesapeake by the British warship Leopard. The British wanted to search for deserters and requested to search the American ship. The Captain James Baron declined to let the British conduct the search leading to a shootout killing 3 Americans and injuring 18. The British then seized four men CITATION Hen86 \l 1033 (Adams, Williams, & Williams, 1986). This was a clear violation of America’s Neutrality and the sovereignty of the country. With the intention of avoiding war, Jefferson decided to take economic measures with the hope of hurting both France and Britain. As a result, the Congress passed the Embargo Act in December 1807 and signed into law by President Jefferson. This led to the closing of all U.S. ports for exports and imports from Great Britain were also restricted CITATION Fen90 \l 1033 (Fenstermaker & Filer, 1990).

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