What were the consequences of the Embargo Act of 1807?

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The Embargo Act was intended to put pressure on the British government to halt its policy of impressment, or seizing American sailors to serve on British ships. The embargo was an almost total disaster. It had very little negative effect on Great Britain (and was generally supported by France, even though the embargo also applied to them). It had a negative effect on the American economy, hurting merchants and manufacturers. These effects, of course, fell hardest on the urban working classes of the Northeast. Thousands were put out of work, leading to unrest in port cities like Boston, Newport, and New York. This, in turn, led to fierce opposition by Federalists in the region, which continued through the War of 1812. Along with that war, the Embargo Act contributed to the rise of manufacturing in the Northeast. Businessmen, unable to employ their capital in trade, turned to manufacturing ventures. So the effects of the embargo are complex, and its long term impacts were really only realized in the aftermath of the War of 1812.

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