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The Embargo Act – Part 1

May 19, 2015

Thomas Jefferson’s first presidential term was a resounding success. Unpopular legislation was repealed, the Barbary pirates were defeated, and the land area of the United States was doubled. Jefferson won re-election with 92% of the Electoral College vote.

Then the real trouble began. Since Britain and France were at war, they did not want each other to enjoy the benefits of U.S. raw materials. American ships were regularly stopped, and some Americans were pressed into naval service for the European war.

Jefferson did all he could to avoid war with either side, but the situation required some sort of response. In order to teach the combatants a lesson, he signed the Embargo Act of 1807. It proved to be a disaster for the United States economy.

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