The Embargo Act. Jefferson's solution to the problems with Great Britain and France was to deny both countries American goods. In December 1807, Congress passed the Embargo Act, which stopped exports and prohibited the departure of merchant ships for foreign ports. The act also effectively ended imports because foreign ships would not bring products to the United States if they had to leave without cargo. The British got around the Embargo Act by developing trade connections in South America, while in the United States, thousands of sailors were thrown out of work, merchants declared bankruptcy, and southern and western farmers had no outlet for their crops. At the time, the Embargo Act was generally viewed as a failure. While the economic costs to Americans were high, trade did continue. Enforcement was lax, and American
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