During last week’s vice presidential debate, the candidates clashed over whose team would be better able to impose “crippling” sanctions on Iran. The problem of sanctions is an old one. President Jefferson tried to impose a trade embargo on Britain in 1807 to stop the Royal Navy from seizing our sailors on the high seas. This Embargo was an attempt to use peaceful coercion to bring about a change in policy by the British. It failed. It was Jefferson’s greatest failure as president. We have a Bicentennial Walking Tour of the War of 1812 at the U.S. Naval Academy. I’d be happy to take you on that tour. The War of 1812 was the direct result of the failure of Jefferson’s sanctions to make Britain changer her behavior.
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