Jones Act(redirected from Merchant Marine Act of 1920)
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Legislation in the United States, passed in 1920, that requires ships transporting cargo between U.S. ports to fly a U.S. flag, to be owned by American citizens, and to be crewed by U.S. citizens and residents. The Act was designed to protect merchant marine jobs. The Jones Act remains controversial. Critics maintain it is protectionist and results in higher prices for consumers, while supporters contend that it helps preserve American jobs and ensures trained seamen are available in times of national emergency. It is formally called the Merchant Marine Act; its colloquial name comes from Senator Wesley Jones, who sponsored it.