Jefferson The Tyrant

This act* closed all additional loopholes and granted the president extraordinary powers to capture and punish any violators, including powers that were clearly contrary to the search-and-seizure provisions of the Fourth Amendment. Almost nothing could be loaded onto vessels or moved in oceanic commerce without a permit or license, usually backed by a large bond; and the federal authorities were granted enormous discretion in deciding who was to be permitted to trade. “This was regulatory authority of astonishing breadth and administrative discretion of breathtaking scope,” concludes a modern historian of administrative law.98 The United States government was virtually at war with its own people, especially those in Massachusetts, whose opposition to the embargo, said Jefferson, “amounted almost to rebellion and treason.”99 For their part, “the people of Massachusetts,” declared the state’s senate, “will not willingly become the victims of a fruitless experiment.”100

Wood, Gordon S. (2009). Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oxford History of the United States) (Kindle Locations 11932-11939).

Essentially Jefferson kept on doubling down on his idea that his embargo would bring about a change in the system of international commerce, in the way wars were fought, etc.  One could argue that he was quite frankly delusional.

*An enforcement bill meant to strengthen the Embargo Act.

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