Why did Thomas Jefferson order the embargo against Great Britain in 1807?

1 Answer
Mar 31, 2018

Because of the British Blockade of France during the Napoleonic Wars


The first 15 years of the 19th century saw Europe embroiled in a series of wars collectively termed the Napoleonic Wars. France was the dominant continental land power but Britain was the dominant Naval power

Britain carried out economic warfare in the form of a naval blockade of trade into French territory, France in retaliation implemented the "Continental System" where British goods were prohibited in French territory

The Naval blockade led to the interruption of American Trade with Europe as ships were intercepted and seized, the US Navy of the time was not capable of preventing this happening which led to anger and humiliation in the US, The British saw the US Merchant fleet as a "safe haven" for deserting seamen and wanted them back

The situation climaxed when HMS Leopard attacked and boarded the USS Chesapeake killing 3 Americans and arresting 4 seamen as alleged deserters as this took place off the coast of Norfolk Virginia it was an affront to the US

This led to the embargo act of 1807