|Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Between His Britannic Majesty and The United States of America|
First page of the Jay Treaty
|Context||To relieve post-war tension between Britain and the United States|
|Signed||November 19, 1794|
|Effective||February 29, 1796|
The Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, commonly known as the Jay Treaty, and also as Jay's Treaty, was a 1795 treaty between the United States and Great Britain that averted war, resolved issues remaining since the Treaty of Paris of 1783 (which ended the American Revolutionary War),and facilitated ten years of peaceful trade between the United States and Britain in the midst of the French Revolutionary Wars, which began in 1792. The Treaty was designed by Alexander Hamilton and supported by President George Washington. It angered France and bitterly divided Americans. It inflamed the new growth of two opposing parties in every state, the pro-Treaty Federalists and the anti-Treaty Democratic Republicans.
The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.
Alexander Hamilton was an American statesman and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was an influential interpreter and promoter of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the founder of the nation's financial system, the Federalist Party, the United States Coast Guard, and the New York Post newspaper. As the first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the main author of the economic policies of George Washington's administration. He took the lead in the Federal government's funding of the states' debts, as well as establishing a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. His vision included a strong central government led by a vigorous executive branch, a strong commercial economy, a national bank and support for manufacturing, and a strong military. Thomas Jefferson was his leading opponent, arguing for agrarianism and smaller government.
The Treaty was negotiated by John Jay and gained many of the primary American goals. This included the withdrawal of British Army units from forts in the Northwest Territory that it had refused to relinquish under the Paris Peace Treaty. The British were retaliating for the United States reneging on Articles 4 and 6 of the 1783 treaty; American state courts impeded the collection of debts owed British creditors and upheld the continued confiscation of Loyalist estates in spite of an explicit understanding that the prosecutions would be immediately discontinued.The parties agreed that disputes over wartime debts and the American–Canadian boundary were to be sent to arbitration—one of the first major uses of arbitration in modern diplomatic history. This set a precedent used by other nations. The Americans were granted limited rights to trade with British colonies in the Caribbean in exchange for some limits on the American export of cotton.
John Jay was an American statesman, Patriot, diplomat, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, negotiator and signatory of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, second Governor of New York, and the first Chief Justice of the United States (1789–1795). He directed U.S. foreign policy for much of the 1780s and was an important leader of the Federalist Party after the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788.
The Northwest Territory in the United States was formed after the American Revolutionary War, and was known formally as the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio. It was the initial post-colonial Territory of the United States and encompassed most of pre-war British colonial territory west of the Appalachian mountains north of the Ohio River. It included all the land west of Pennsylvania, northwest of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River below the Great Lakes. It spanned all or large parts of six eventual U.S. States. It was created as a Territory by the Northwest Ordinance July 13, 1787, reduced to Ohio, eastern Michigan and a sliver of southeastern Indiana with the formation of Indiana Territory July 4, 1800, and ceased to exist March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio, and the remainder attached to Indiana Territory.
The Canada–United States border, officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest international border in the world between two countries. It is shared between Canada and the United States, the second- and fourth/third largest countries by area, respectively. The terrestrial boundary is 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi) long, of which 2,475 kilometres (1,538 mi) is Canada's border with Alaska. Eight Canadian provinces and territories, and thirteen U.S. states are located along the border.
The Jay treaty was signed on November 19, 1794, and submitted to the United States Senate for its advice and consent the following June. It was ratified by the Senate on June 24, 1795, by a two-thirds majority vote of 20–10 (the exact number necessary for concurrence). It was also ratified by the British government, and took effect February 29, 1796, the day when ratifications were officially exchanged.
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.
Coming into force or entry into force refers to the process by which legislation, regulations, treaties and other legal instruments come to have legal force and effect. The term is closely related to the date of this transition.
The treaty was hotly contested by Jeffersonians in each state. An effort was made to block it in the House, which ultimately failed. The Jeffersonians feared that closer economic or political ties with Great Britain would strengthen Hamilton's Federalist Party, promote aristocracy, and undercut republicanism. This debate crystallized the emerging partisan divisions and shaped the new "First Party System", with the Federalists favoring the British and the Jeffersonian republicans favoring France. The treaty was for ten years' duration. Efforts failed to agree on a replacement treaty in 1806 when Jefferson rejected the Monroe–Pinkney Treaty, as tensions escalated toward the War of 1812.
Jeffersonian democracy, named after its advocate Thomas Jefferson, was one of two dominant political outlooks and movements in the United States from the 1790s to the 1820s. The term was commonly used to refer to the Democratic-Republican Party, which Jefferson founded in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton. The Jeffersonians were deeply committed to American republicanism, which meant opposition to what they considered to be artificial aristocracy, opposition to corruption, and insistence on virtue, with a priority for the "yeoman farmer", "planters", and the "plain folk".
The Federalist Party, referred to as the Pro-Administration party until the 3rd United States Congress as opposed to their opponents in the Anti-Administration party, was the first American political party. It existed from the early 1790s to the 1820s, with their last presidential candidate being fielded in 1816. They appealed to business and to conservatives who favored banks, national over state government, manufacturing, and preferred Britain and opposed the French Revolution.
Aristocracy is a form of government that places strength in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning 'rule of the best-born'.
The outbreak of war between France and Great Britain (and other countries) in 1793 ended the long peace that had enabled the new nation to flourish in terms of trade and finance. The United States now emerged as an important neutral country with a large shipping trade.From the British perspective, improving relations with the United States was a high priority lest it move into the French orbit. British negotiators ignored elements that wanted harsher terms in order to get a suitable treaty. From the American viewpoint, the most pressing foreign policy issues were normalizing the trade relations with Britain, the United States' leading trading partner, and resolving issues left over from the Treaty of Paris. As one observer explained, the British government was "well disposed to America. ... They have made their arrangements upon a plan that comprehends the neutrality of the United States, and are anxious that it should be preserved."
The Treaty of Paris, signed in Paris by representatives of King George III of Great Britain and representatives of the United States of America on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War. The treaty set the boundaries between the British Empire in North America and the United States, on lines "exceedingly generous" to the latter. Details included fishing rights and restoration of property and prisoners of war.
Without warning American officials, the British government used the Royal Navy to capture nearly 250 neutral American merchant ships carrying goods from French colonies in the West Indies. Americans were outraged and Republicans in Jefferson's coalition demanded a declaration of war, but James Madison instead called for an embargo on trade with Britain.British officials told First Nations near the Canada–U.S. border that the border no longer existed and sold weapons to them. Congress voted for a trade embargo against Britain in March 1794.
The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.
James Madison Jr. was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the United States Constitution and the United States Bill of Rights. He also co-wrote The Federalist Papers, co-founded the Democratic-Republican Party, and served as the fifth United States secretary of State from 1801 to 1809.
In Canada, the First Nations are the predominant indigenous peoples in Canada south of the Arctic Circle. Those in the Arctic area are distinct and known as Inuit. The Métis, another distinct ethnicity, developed after European contact and relations primarily between First Nations people and Europeans. There are 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.
At the national level American politics was divided between the factions of Jefferson and Madison, which favored the French, and the Federalists led by Hamilton, who saw Britain as a natural ally and thus sought to normalize relations with Britain, especially in the area of trade. Washington sided with Hamilton. Hamilton devised a framework for negotiations, and President George Washington sent Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Jay to London to negotiate a comprehensive treaty.
The American government had several outstanding issues:
Both sides achieved many objectives. Several issues were sent to arbitration, which (after years of discussion) were resolved amicably mostly in favor of the U.S. Britain paid $11,650,000 for damages to American shipping and received £600,000 for unpaid pre-1775 debts. While international arbitration was not entirely unknown, the Jay Treaty gave it a strong impetus and is generally taken as the start of modern international arbitration.
The British agreed to vacate its forts in United States territory—six in the Great Lakes region and two at the north end of Lake Champlain—by June 1796; which was done. They were:
|Name||Present day location|
|Fort au Fer||Lake Champlain – Champlain, New York|
|Fort Dutchman's Point||Lake Champlain – North Hero, Vermont|
|Fort Lernoult (including Fort Detroit)||Detroit River – Detroit, Michigan|
|Fort Mackinac||Straits of Mackinac – Mackinac Island, Michigan|
|Fort Miami||Maumee River – Maumee, Ohio|
|Fort Niagara||Niagara River – Youngstown, New York|
|Fort Ontario||Lake Ontario – Oswego, New York|
|Fort Oswegatchie||Saint Lawrence River – Ogdensburg, New York|
The treaty was "surprisingly generous" in allowing Americans to trade with Great Britain on a most-favored-nation basis.In return, the United States gave most favored nation trading status to Britain, and acquiesced in British anti-French maritime policies. American merchants obtained limited rights to trade in the British West Indies. Two joint boundary commissions were set up to establish the boundary line in the Northeast (it agreed on one) and in the Northwest (this commission never met and the boundary was settled after the War of 1812).
Jay, a strong opponent of slavery, dropped the issue of compensation for slaves, which angered Southern slaveholders and was used as a target for attacks by Jeffersonians.Jay was unsuccessful in negotiating an end to the impressment of American sailors into the Royal Navy, which later became a key issue leading to the War of 1812.
Article III states, "It is agreed, that it shall at all times be free to His Majesty's subjects, and to the citizens of the United States, and also to the Indians dwelling on either side of the said boundary line, freely to pass and repass, by land or inland navigation into the respective territories and countries of the two parties on the continent of America, (the country within the limits of the Hudson's Bay Company only excepted) ... and freely carry on trade and commerce with each other." Article III of the Jay Treaty declared the right of Indians, American citizens, and Canadian subjects to trade and travel between the United States and Canada, which was then a territory of Great Britain.Over the years since, the United States has codified this obligation in the provisions of Section 289 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 and as amended in 1965. As a result of the Jay Treaty, "Native Indians born in Canada are therefore entitled to enter the United States for the purpose of employment, study, retirement, investing, and/or immigration". Article III of the Jay Treaty is the basis of most Indian claims.
Washington submitted the treaty to the United States Senate for its consent in June 1795; a two-thirds vote was needed. The treaty was unpopular at first and gave the Jeffersonians a platform to rally new supporters. As historian Paul Varg explains,
The Jay Treaty was a reasonable give-and-take compromise of the issues between the two countries. What rendered it so assailable was not the compromise spelled out between the two nations but the fact that it was not a compromise between the two political parties at home. Embodying the views of the Federalists, the treaty repudiated the foreign policy of the opposing party.
The Jeffersonians were opposed to Britain, preferring support for France in the wars raging in Europe, and they argued that the treaty with France from 1778 was still in effect. They considered Britain as the center of aristocracy and the chief threat to the United States' Republican values. They denounced Hamilton and Jay (and even Washington) as monarchists who betrayed American values. They organized public protests against Jay and his treaty; one of their rallying cries said: Damn John Jay! Damn everyone that won't damn John Jay! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning John Jay!
The treaty was one of the major catalysts for the advent of the First Party System in the United States by further dividing the two major political factions within the country. The Federalist Party, led by Hamilton, supported the treaty. On the contrary, the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Jefferson and Madison, opposed it. Jefferson and his supporters had a counter-proposal to establish "a direct system of commercial hostility with Great Britain", even at the risk of war. The Jeffersonians raised public opinion to fever pitch by accusing the British of promoting Indian atrocities on the frontier.The fierce debates over the Treaty in 1794–95, according to one historian, "transformed the Republican movement into a Republican party". To fight the treaty, the Jeffersonians "established coordination in activity between leaders at the capital, and leaders, actives and popular followings in the states, counties and towns". Jay's failure to obtain compensation for "lost" slaves galvanized the South into opposition.
The Federalists fought back and Congress rejected the Jefferson–Madison counter-proposals. Washington threw his great prestige behind the treaty, and Federalists rallied public opinion more effectively than did their opponents. [ clarification needed ] in April 1796, in a series of close votes and after another bitter fight.Hamilton convinced President Washington that it was the best treaty that could be expected. Washington insisted that the U.S. must remain neutral in the European wars; he signed it, and his prestige carried the day in Congress. The Federalists made a strong, systematic appeal to public opinion, which rallied their own supporters and shifted the debate. Washington and Hamilton outmaneuvered Madison, who was opposition leader. Hamilton by then was out of the government, and he was the dominant figure who helped secure the treaty's approval by the needed 2/3 vote in the Senate. The Senate passed a resolution in June, advising the President to amend the treaty by suspending the 12th article, which concerned trade between the U.S. and the West Indies. In mid-August, the Senate ratified the treaty 20–10, with the condition that the treaty contain specific language regarding the June 24 resolution. President Washington signed it in late August. The Treaty was proclaimed in effect on February 29, 1796 and the House funded it
James Madison, then a member of the House of Representatives, argued that the treaty could not, under Constitutional law, take effect without approval of the House, since it regulated commerce and exercised legislative powers granted to Congress. The debate which followed was an early example of originalism, in which Madison, the "Father of the Constitution", lost.One interesting feature of this nationwide constitutional debate was an advisory opinion on the subject written by Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth, in which he rejected any alleged right of the House of Representatives to decide upon the merits of the treaty. After defeat on the treaty in Congress, the Jeffersonian Republicans lost the 1796 presidential election on the issue.
When Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801, he did not repudiate the treaty. He kept the Federalist minister, Rufus King, in London to negotiate a successful resolution to outstanding issues regarding cash payments and boundaries. The amity broke down when the treaty expired in 1805. Jefferson rejected a renewal of the Jay Treaty in the Monroe–Pinkney Treaty of 1806 as negotiated by his diplomats and agreed to by London. Relations turned increasingly hostile as a prelude to the War of 1812. In 1815, the Treaty of Ghent superseded the Jay treaty.
Historians Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick note that, in conventional diplomatic terms and as a "piece of adversary bargaining", Jay "got much the worst of the 'bargain'. Such a view has to a great degree persisted ever since."They conclude that Jay did not succeed in asserting neutral rights, but he did obtain "his other sine qua nons"; he got none of things that were "desirable, but not indispensable". They add that Jay's record on the symbolic side was open to many objections. However, on the "hard" (or realistic) side, "it was a substantial success, which included the prevention of war with Great Britain".
Historian Marshall Smelser argues that the treaty effectively postponed war with Britain, or at least postponed it until the United States was strong enough to handle it.
Bradford Perkins argued in 1955 that the treaty was the first to establish a special relationship between Britain and the United States, with a second installment under Lord Salisbury. In his view, the treaty worked for ten years to secure peace between Britain and America: "The decade may be characterized as the period of 'The First Rapprochement'." As Perkins concludes,
For about ten years there was peace on the frontier, joint recognition of the value of commercial intercourse, and even, by comparison with both preceding and succeeding epochs, a muting of strife over ship seizures and impressment. Two controversies with France ... pushed the English-speaking powers even more closely together.
Starting at swords' point in 1794, the Jay treaty reversed the tensions, Perkins concludes: "Through a decade of world war and peace, successive governments on both sides of the Atlantic were able to bring about and preserve a cordiality which often approached genuine friendship."Perkins suggests that, except perhaps the opening of trade with British India, "Jay did fail to win anything the Americans were not obviously entitled to, liberation of territory recognized as theirs since 1782, and compensation for seizures that even Britain admitted were illegal". He also speculates that a "more astute negotiator than the Chief Justice" would have gotten better terms than he did. He quoted the opinion of "great historian" Henry Adams that the treaty was a "bad one":
No one would venture on its merits to defend it now. There has been no time since 1810 when the United States would not prefer war to peace on such terms.
Perkins gave more weight than other historians to valuable concessions regarding trade in India and the concession on the West Indies trade. In addition, Perkins noted that the Royal Navy treated American commerce with "relative leniency" during the wars, and many impressed seamen were returned to America. As Spain assessed the informal British-American alliance, it softened its previous opposition to the United States' use of the Mississippi River and signed Pinckney's Treaty, which the Americans wanted. When Jefferson took office, he gained renewal of the commercial articles that had greatly benefited American shipping.
Elkins and McKitrick find this more positive view open to "one big difficulty": it requires that the British negotiated in the same spirit. Unlike Perkins, they find "little indication of this".
George Herring's 2008 history of US foreign policy says that, in 1794, "the United States and Britain edged toward war" and concludes, "The Jay Treaty brought the United States important concessions and served its interests well."Joseph Ellis finds the terms of the treaty "one-sided in Britain's favor", but asserts with a consensus of historians that it was
a shrewd bargain for the United States. It bet, in effect, on England rather than France as the hegemonic European power of the future, which proved prophetic. It recognized the massive dependence of the American economy on trade with England. In a sense it was a precocious preview of the Monroe Doctrine (1823), for it linked American security and economic development to the British fleet, which provided a protective shield of incalculable value throughout the nineteenth century. Mostly, it postponed war with England until America was economically and politically more capable of fighting one.
In the HBO miniseries John Adams , Vice President John Adams is shown casting the tiebreaker vote in favor of ratifying the Jay Treaty. In reality, his vote was never required as the Senate passed the resolution by 20–10. Furthermore, the Vice President would never be required to cast a vote in a treaty ratification, because the Vice President votes only in case of a tie, and Article II of the Constitution requires that treaties receive a two-thirds vote for approval.
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