What is the significance of the Non-Intercourse Act?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Non-Intercourse Act of 1809 replaced the Embargo Act of 1807 after the unsatisfactory effects of the Embargo Act. The Embargo Act was a reaction to the interference by Britain and France on American diplomatic and economic activities overseas. American merchant ships were forced to abandon their European maritime trade routes in hopes of impressing American neutrality in the European war by hurting the European economy. However, the Act yielded negative results for the American economy. Mounting pressure from the citizens and political class saw the introduction of the Non-Intercourse Act, which was only directed to trade activities with Britain and France. The Act faced the same challenges as the Embargo Act and sustained the economic non-performance.

The Non-Intercourse Act and other economic Acts were significant because they gave birth to American industrialization. The rejection of manufactured goods from Britain and France forced the United States to self-produce the items.

The Act also led to the War of 1812, which was resolved through treaties. National unity improved and the United States succeeded in establishing better trade relations with the different European powers. The militia that fought in the war was also organized into a more professional military force.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Non-Intercourse Act of 1808 was significant because it was one of the attempts that was made by the US to keep out of the conflict between Britain and France that followed in the wake of the French Revolution.

The Non-Intercourse Act was a substitute for the Embargo Act of 1807, which had prohibited any export of goods from the US.  The Non-Intercourse Act changed this, saying that Americans could trade with any country other than France or Great Britain.  Like the Embargo Act, this act did not really work and the US ended up fighting Great Britain in the War of 1812.

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