Neutral Rights



The United States wanted to stay neutral in foreign affairs while the country was still growing. Thomas Jefferson wanted to continue the peace that had been established in his first term. There were many challenges to neutral rights that were presented by France and Great Britain. Great Britain controlled the ocean and France owned much of Europe and they were big enemies. The British began to stop American ships loaded with goods going to France. This meant that the United States had to either stop trade with France and become allies with Britain or become allies with France and sail in different routes to trade with them. This meant that America would no longer be neutral in foreign affairs.

Jefferson did not want to fight in another war since the democrats reduced the army and navy. To avoid war, Jefferson decided to keep American ships from sailing and trading with other countries. The Embargo Act was passed which stopped all ships except foreign ships without cargo from leaving. Unfortunately this act hurt the country more than it did keep neutral rights. There was more supply than demand in America which lead to the smuggling of food and other items. The Non-Intercourse Act repealed the Embargo Act and allowed Americans to trade with any country other than France and Great Britain. Macon’s bill #2 stated that either Britain or France had to lift its restrictions on America shipping if they wanted to trade with the United States.