Our Essay Answer
Between the years
1775-1825, the United States passed a number of economic and trade regulations and
restrictions against European nations. They did this in response to the trading policies
and actions of foreign countries and to protect what they regarded as their national
In the years leading up to the American Revolution, colonists had very different views. Some colonists wanted to remain loyal to the king and try to reconcile their differences, while others wanted total independence from England. A major influence in choosing independence came from Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense, in which he stated that America's dependence on Great Britain involved them in European wars and conflicts and set them against nations who would otherwise seek their friendship. It would be in America's best interest to stay away from European troubles, which they could not do if they were dependent on Britain. (A) This pamphlet increased American support for independence and led to the American Revolution. When the new nation emerged, Congress declared it their duty to deal with the actions of foreign countries and to protect the United States from any actions that might prove to be harmful to the country's interests and the citizens' interests. (B) When the Constitution of the United States was adopted in 1787, Congress was given the powers to lay and collect taxes, pay debts, borrow money, and regulate commerce with foreign nations. (C)
The United States exercised this right to pass a number of economic and government trade regulations and restrictions exclusively during the years leading up to the War of 1812. At this time, France was in the midst of a revolution and war broke out between England and France. The U.S. proclaimed its neutrality and American shipping and commerce flourished during the early stages of the war. But as time went on, France and England regularly seized U.S. ships and confiscated their cargoes, creating a naval blockade of enemy ports. The British had a special practice of capturing U.S. sailors and forcing them to serve in the British navy. In May 1806, England declared that it would seize vessels attempting to go into or out of French ports. In November 1806, France replied to British blockades which forbade all trade with Great Britain. Then, in 1807, the British warship, Leopard, fired on the U.S. warship, Chesapeake, killing some Americans and impressing others.
Jefferson, who was a strong supporter of commerce with all nations and alliance with none, (E) tried to avoid war at all costs. He was able to convince Congress to retaliate against these European actions by passing the Embargo Act of 1807, which act prohibited American ships from sailing into foreign ports. Unfortunately, though, the Embargo Act was a failure because Europeans received the goods from South America. American commerce suffered greatly and eventually, Jefferson repealed this Act. In 1809, Congress passed the Non-Intercourse Act, that allowed America to trade with all nations except Great Britain and France. President Madison, who was elected in 1808, finally declared war against Great Britain on June 1, 1812 due to the pressure received from most Americans. The cause of the war included the continual violation of the American flag by seizing American ships and impressing its sailors. In turn, they were guilty of violating the rights and peace of the American coasts, and for shedding American blood. (F)
The United States passed these economic and government trade regulations against Europeans with many motives in mind. In the early nineteenth century, the United States felt that the best decision was to stay out of foreign affairs, but as relations with foreign intensified, they began to persue actions for their country's interest in mind.
Click here for a grading rubric -->