Napoleon immediately saw a chance to exploit this bill in order to further his Continental Plan, a form of economic warfare he believed would destroy Britain's economy. A message was sent to the United States, stating the rights of the American merchant ships as neutral carriers would be recognized. Madison, staunch opponent of the bill, grudgingly accepted Napoleon's offer. However, Napoleon had no intention of ever following through on his promise, and James Madison soon realized this as well, ignoring the French promise. The British were still highly offended by the agreement and threatened force, thus motivating Napoleon to withdraw altogether. Still, the damage had been done and soon the U.S. and Britain were entangled in the War of 1812 due to the continued harassment of American ships and escalated tensions between the United States and the nations of Europe. A general consensus among historians is that this bill was effectively useless, as it was quickly seen that the European economies played upon the weaknesses this bill created. As a result, the bill's parameters were never enforced, due to Madison's correct interpretation of France's deviation. Macon's Bill Number 2 responded to the ineffectiveness of the Non-Intercourse Act and the Embargo Act before it.
Ironically, Macon did not even vote in favor of the finished draft of the bill.