The Hated Embargo

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					        The Hated Embargo
•1807   United States under the guard of Jefferson
  •National   honor would not allow submission to British
  or French
  •Large scale war was contrary to New Republic’s policy

  •Navy weak – because of Jefferson anti-navalism

  •Army even weaker
           The Hated Embargo
   Warring European nations depended on U.S. for
    raw materials and foodstuffs.
   Trying to avoid war Jefferson latched upon this
    essential fact.
   If America cut off its exports, Europe would be
    forced to respect its rights.
   Responding to the Pres. Congress hastily passed
    the Embargo Act in late 1807.
           The Hated Embargo
   Embargo Act 1807
     Forbade the export of all goods from the U.S.
      whether in U.S. or foreign ships.
     Embodied Jefferson’s policy of “peaceful coercion”

   If embargo worked – it would vindicate the
    rights of neutral nations and point to a new way
    of conducting foreign affairs.
   If failed – the Republic might perish, subjugated
    to the European powers or sucked into their
    ferocious war, according to Jefferson.
           The Hated Embargo
   The U.S. suffered under the embargo long
    before Britain or France began to bend.
   Harbors were filled with dead masts
   Docks were deserted (except for illegal trade)
   Soup kitchens cared for some of the hungry
   Jefferson was hurting the New England
    commerce that he vowed he was trying to
             The Hated Embargo
   Farmers in the South and West (strongholds of
    Jefferson) suffered no less.
       Mounting piles of unexportable cotton, grain, and
   Jefferson seemed to be waging war on his fellow
              The Hated Embargo
   Illicit trade mushroomed in 1808, especially
    along the Canadian boarder.
     Armed Americans on loaded rafts overpowered
      federal agents
     Transposed “Embargo”
           “O Grab Me”, “Go Bar’ Em,” and “Mobarge,” and
            cursing the “Dambargo”
              The Hated Embargo
   Jefferson had Congress pass iron-toothed
    legislation to enforce the Embargo
       Inquisitorial and tyrannical
   The embargo helped to revive the almost dead
    Federalist party.
   Federalist party leaders hurled their nullification
    of the embargo to the “Virginia lordlings” in
           The Hated Embargo
   In 1804 Federalist received 14 electoral votes
    out of 176
   In 1808, the embargo year, they received 47 out
    of 175.
   New England talked of secession
   Jefferson later admitted that he felt the
    foundations of the nation tremble under his feet.
           The Hated Embargo
   Yielding to public anger, Congress repealed the
    embargo on March 1, 1809, three days before
    Jefferson retirement.
   Non-intercourse Act – formally reopened trade
    with all the nations of the world, except Britain
    and France.
   Watered down economic coercion continued to
    be the policy until the nation finally plunged into
           The Hated Embargo
   Why did Jefferson’s Embargo Act collapse after
    fifteen dismal months?
     He underestimated the determination of the British
     Overestimated the dependence of both belligerents
      on America’s trade
     Bumper grain crops blessed the British Isles during
      these years
     Revolutionary Latin American republics opened for
      compensating commerce.
           The Hated Embargo
   Why did Jefferson’s Embargo Act collapse after
    fifteen dismal months?
     With most of Europe under his control Napoleon
      could afford to go without American trade.
     The French continued to seize American ships and
      steal their cargoes,
     The embargo was not continued long enough to be
      effective. But a leaky embargo was perhaps more
      costly than none at all.
           The Hated Embargo
   New Prosperity from Embargo
     Old factories and new ones were built in New
      England during the Embargo.
     The real foundations of modern America’s industrial
      might were laid behind the protective wall of the
      Embargo, the Non-intercourse Act and the War of
             Madison’s Gamble
   Jefferson followed Washington’s lead and left
    office after two terms.
     Escape the “splendid misery”
     Favored nomination of his successor and friend,
      James Madison
   Madison took the oath of office, March 4, 1809
     The conflict in Europe was drawing to its climax
     Crippled as pres. by factions w/in his party and
               Madison’s Gamble
   Madison unable to dominate Congress
     Often found himself holding the bag for risky
      foreign policies not of his own making.
     Non-Intercourse Act of 1809 was due to expire in
         To Madison dismay Congress dismantled the embargo
          completely w/Macon’s Bill No. 2. (an attractive lure)
         It opened trade w/the world

         If either Britain of France repealed its commercial
          restrictions, America would restore its embargo against
          the non repealing nation.
              Madison’s Gamble
   Madison unable to dominate Congress
     Macon’s Bill No. 2 con’t.
     Madison believed that the bill was a shameful
     It practically admitted that the U.S. could not survive
      w/out one of the belligerents as a commercial ally,
     But it left determination of who that ally would be
      up to the leaders of London and Paris.
                   Madison’s Gamble
   Napoleon see an unusual opportunity
       Since 1806 Britain had justified its Orders in Council as
        retaliation for Napoleon’s actions (implying that trade
        restrictions would be lifted if the French decrees
       Now the French held out the same half promise.
            August 1810, Napoleon’s foreign minister stated that decrees might
             be repealed if Britain also lifter its Orders in Council. (Message was
             deliberately ambiguous)
            Had no intention of permitting unrestricted trade between U.S. and
            Hoped to maneuver the U.S. into resuming its embargo against the
             British (creating a partial blockade that he would not have to enforce)
             Madison’s Gamble
   Madison’s Gamble
      Madison knew better than to trust Napoleon
     Gambled that the threat of seeing the U.S. trade
      exclusively w/France would lead the British to repeal
      their restrictions and vice versa.
     Accepted emperor’s offer as evidence of repeal

     Macon’s Bill gave British 3 months to live up to their
      implied promise of Revoking the Or. In Coun. And
      reopening the Atlantic to neutral trade.
                Madison’s Gamble
   Madison’s Gamble
       British reply
          British were in firm control of the seas, and saw little
           reason to bargain.
          As long as there was a war w/France, the U.S. could trade
           only w/ Great Britain.
       Gamble failed
          President Madison saw no choice but to reestablish the
           embargo against Britain alone.
          Madison knew this meant the end of American neutrality

          And possibly the first step toward war

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