Frank J. Merli and

Robert H. Ferrell

Blockade, historically speaking, has been a maritime measure, to restrict entrance to a harbor or its environs. The word has been stretched to include entire countries. Sometimes "blockade" has meant enforcement or threat of enforcement by land rather than by sea, along the borders of an opposing nation or nations. The blockade has always been an attractive concept to the American people and government, for it has been seen as a way of restricting war and even of preserving peace. In time of war, a narrowly drawn blockade might ward off a conflict and allow a neutral nation, perhaps the United States, to carry on its trade much as before. In time of peace, a blockade might prove sufficient to discourage a quarreling nation from employing military force. According to international law there can be pacific as well as belligerent blockades, but most, of course, have been instituted in wartime. Although other terms—"quarantine," "interdiction," "interception"—have gained currency over the years, the basic concept of blockade has remained an important component of American diplomatic and military policy.


Behrens, C. B. A. Merchant Shipping and the Demands of War. London, 1955.

Bernath, Stuart. Squall Across the Atlantic: American Civil War Prize Cases. Berkeley and Los Angeles, Calif., 1970. Makes international law not only intelligible but interesting to the general reader.

Blair, Clay. Silent Victory: The U.S. Submarine War against Japan. Philadelphia and New York, 1975.

Burt, A. L. The United States, Great Britain, and British North America: From the Revolution to the Establishment of Peace After the War of 1812. New Haven, Conn., 1940.

Chayes, Abram. The Cuban Missile Crisis. New York, 1974.

Deak, Francis, ed. Neutrality in History, Economics, and Law. 4 vols. New York, 1935–1936. Treatment of the evolution of a key portion of international law.

Field, James. America and the Mediterranean World: 1776–1882. Princeton, N.J., 1969.

Gilbert, Felix. To the Farewell Address: Ideas of Early American Foreign Policy. Princeton, N.J., 1961.

Lurabaghi, Raimonndo. A History of the Confederate Navy. Annapolis, Md., 1996. Translated by Paolo Coletta.

Mallison, W. T. Studies in the Law of Naval Warfare: Submarines in General and Limited Wars. Washington, D.C., 1968. Legal problems raised by submarine war.

Medlicott, W. N. The Economic Blockade. 2 vols. London, 1952.

Merli, Frank J. Great Britain and the Confederate Navy. Bloomington, Ind., 1970. A portion deals with keeping blockade-runners out of the South.

Moore, John B. Digest of International Law. 8 vols. Washington, D.C., 1906. Old but useful.

Morison, Samuel Eliot. History of the United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston, 1947–1962.

Savage, Carlton. Policy of the United States Toward Maritime Commerce in War. 2 vols. Washington, D.C., 1934. Handy compilation of documentary material.

Savelle, Max. The Origins of American Diplomacy: The International History of Anglo-America, 1492–1763. New York, 1967. Although there is no index entry for blockade, there is the important chapter "The Impact of the New World of the Colonies upon the Evolution of the Theory and Practice of International Law."

Siney, Marion C. The Allied Blockade of Germany: 1914–1916. Ann Arbor, Mich., 1957.

Tracy, Nicholas. Attack on Maritime Trade. Toronto, 1991. The perspective is from naval strategy rather than economics or international law.

Trask, David. Captains and Cabinets: Anglo-American Naval Relations, 1917–1918. Columbia, Mo., 1972.

Varg, Paul. Foreign Policies of the Founding Fathers. East Lansing, Mich., 1963.

Wise, Stephen. Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running During the Civil War. Columbia, n S.C., 1988.

See also Armed Neutralities ; Arms Transfers and Trade ; Continental System ; Economic Policy and Theory ; Embargoes and Sanctions ; Freedom of the Seas ; International Law ; Naval Diplomacy ; Neutrality .

Also read article about Blockades from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: