Washington Foreign Affairs Essay

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Although foreign affairs did not have such a great affect as domestic affairs did, they still greatly contributed to shaping American politics. During Washington’s administration, one of the most pressing problems was establishing positive relations with the British and French, both of which were on shaky ground with the US following the revolutionary war. As shown by his Farewell Address in 1796, Washington put great emphasis on staying neutral in global conflicts and maintaining no political ties or alliances with other countries. This policy of impartiality, however, was put at risk when the French and English went to war during the French Revolution in the 1790’s. Due to the Franco-American Treaty of 1778, signed by France and America…show more content…
One such example is the fact that the British commanders of the Royal Navy were seizing American merchant ships and forcing the crew of these ships into the army. Although many Americans, namely the Jefferson Democratic-Republicans, shouted for action on the American side, commonly suggesting a war or an embargo, Washington remained firm in his stance on neutrality (American Pageant 192). Thus, the act of the British in impressing American sailors painted a vivid illustration of the lack of independence and unity in the country at the time since the US was split between neutrality, by wish of the Federalists, or an embargo or war, by wish of the Jefferson Democratic-Republicans (Wood 643). Another major foreign affair that, again, further split the country between the JDR’s and Federalists was the formation of the Jay Treaty. Hoping to avoid war with Britain, Washington send John Jay to England to reach a compromise and work out the two countries differences. This plan, however, was doomed from the start as Alexander Hamilton warned the British of the American’s plans during the conference, causing Jay to be easily out-negotiated (American Pageant 194). Although the British agreed to evacuate posts in America (a worrisome privilege that they had maintained after the revolution), to repay some of the damage done to merchant ships, and to open up a little

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