Connecticut's Reaction to the Navigation Acts

While John Adams struggled to negotiate a repeal of the Acts in 1785, individual states in New England enacted their own restriction on trade with Britain. Many of them, including New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts decided to restrict or ban trade with British ships as retaliation. However, while nearly all of New England harshly restricted trade with England, Connecticut decided to open their ports. Connecticut in general had a more conservative government than its neighbors (for instance, it retained the same colonial governor and charter from before the American Revolution), and was less aggressively anti-British as other states. Thus, when the other New England states refused to trade with Britain out of spite, Connecticut's government saw an opportunity to pick up the lost trade and profit on the shipping monopoly. Thus, out of their own self-interest, Connecticut undercut the intent of the New England trade embargo, demonstrating just how unlikely it would be to unite every state interest to produce the necessary majority for national action.

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