Orders in Council (1807)

Orders In Council (1807)

Orders in Council (1807)

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The Orders in Council were a series of legislative decrees made by the United Kingdom in the course of the wars with Napoleonic France which instituted its policy of commercial warfare. Formally, an "order-in-council" is simply the type of legislation (in contrast to an Act of Parliament) by which the British government decreed these policies. However, especially in American history, the term "Orders in Council" is also used collectively to refer to the group of such decrees in the late-18th and early-19th centuries which restricted neutral trade and enforced a naval blockade of Napoleonic France and its allies. The Orders in Council are important for the role they played in shaping the British war effort against France, but they are also significant for the strained relations—and sometimes military conflict—they caused between the United Kingdom and neutral countries, whose trade was affected by them.

In Europe, restrictive British trade policy led to the formation of the Second League of Armed Neutrality, and deteriorating relations with other neutral powers, notably Denmark (with whom the British would fight a series of wars) and Russia. In the Atlantic, the Orders in Council were one of the main sources of tension between the United Kingdom and the United States which led to the War of 1812. In total, the collective "Orders in Council" refers to more than a dozen sets of blockade decrees in the years 1783, 1793, 1794, 1798, 1799,...
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