NONIMPORTATION AGREEMENTS were a series of commercial restrictions adopted by American colonists to protest British revenue policies prior to the American Revolution. Britain's Stamp Act of 1765 triggered the first nonimportation agreements. To protest taxation without representation, New York merchants agreed collectively to embargo British imports until Parliament repealed the stamp tax, and they persuaded the merchants of Boston and Philadelphia to do likewise. Under pressure from British exporters who lost business, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act within a year.
After Parliament imposed the Townshend duties on imports in June–July 1767, colonists implemented a second, uneven round of nonimportation agreements. Boston promptly resumed its embargo of British imports, and New York followed in 1768. But Philadelphia signed on to the idea only in 1769, after stockpiling imports. Southern merchants refused to cooperate, and smuggling reportedly occurred everywhere. By 1770, the embargo began to squeeze British exporters as international tensions mounted in Europe. Parliament repealed the Townshend duties on all commodities except tea.
A third wave of economic embargo formed in 1774. To protest various parliamentary restrictions, the Continental Congress created the Continental Association, which imposed nonimportation, nonconsumption, and limited nonexportation terms on the colonies. In disregard of colonial wishes, however, British merchants opened new export markets, and the government in London resolved to crush colonial rebelliousness. War soon followed.
The nonimportation agreements of the late colonial era were important precursors to the American Revolution. The agreements stoked tensions that led to violence. Negotiation of the agreements thrust Boston patriots into prominence and demonstrated to colonists the potential of united action. On a deeper level, the agreements helped awaken colonists to their emerging national identity as Americans by helping them promote their cultural value of thrift on a national stage.
Crowley, John E. The Privileges of Independence: Neomercantilism and the American Revolution. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.
Schlesinger, Arthur M. The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution, 1763–1776. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1966.
Thomas, Peter D. G. The Townshend Duties Crisis: The Second Phase of the American Revolution, 1767–1773. Oxford: Clarendon, 1987.
"Nonimportation Agreements." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 11, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonimportation-agreements
"Nonimportation Agreements." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved March 11, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonimportation-agreements
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.