"On this day in 1795, President George Washington, eager to avert another war with Great Britain, signed the Jay Treaty with America’s former colonial master. (Its formal name was 'The Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America.')
The president had received reports that Britain, at war with post-revolutionary France, was interfering with American trade with the French and violating sections of the 1783 peace treaty that had ended the Revolutionary War with the United States. He responded by sending an envoy — John Jay, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court — to London to try to smooth things over.
Jay [1745-1829], a proponent of strong, centralized government, had played a key role in the ratification of the U.S. Constitution by New York in 1788. He was a co-author of The Federalist Papers, along with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, and wrote five of the 85 essays.
The U.S. government had several outstanding issues with the authorities in London:
* The British occupied forts on U.S. territory in the Great Lakes region, at Detroit and Mackinac in modern-day Michigan, Niagara and Oswego in New York, and Maumee in modern-day Ohio. (Britain said the occupations were in response to American refusals to pay debts that the U.S. had agreed to.)
*The British were continuing to impress American sailors into the Royal Navy to fight against France.
*American merchants sought compensation for 250 merchant ships, which the British had confiscated.
*Southern interests sought compensation for slaves owned by Loyalists who were deported to the West Indies, along with their masters.
*American merchants wanted the British West Indies to be reopened to American trade.
* The boundary with Canada remained vaguely defined in many places and needed to be better delineated.
*The British were providing munitions to First Nations peoples in armed conflict with settlers in the Northwest Territory.
Both sides achieved many of their objectives. Several issues were sent to arbitration, which after years of discussion were resolved amicably, mostly in favor of the United States. Britain paid $11.65 million for damages to American shipping and received £600,000 for unpaid pre-1775 debts. While international arbitration was not entirely unknown at the time, the Jay Treaty gave it an impetus and is widely seen as marking the start of modern arbitration between sovereign states.
Washington characterized his foreign policy as honoring a need to 'observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.' He noted that the pact reflected America’s 'reluctance to hostility.'
It was denounced, however, by two future presidents, Thomas Jefferson and Madison, who held that it made too many concessions to the British. It angered the French while dividing Americans and led to the formation of two competing parties: the pro-Treaty Federalists and the anti-Treaty Democratic Republicans."
SOURCE: “THIS DAY IN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY,” BY PAUL BRANDUS
This is an example of some of the negotiations that George Washington had to manage using his temperament as Guardian/Administrator/Supervisor (ESTJ) personality. It is interesting to note the number of people involved in this negotiation either directly or indirectly. This of course sets the stage for politics as we see today.
The next blog will be: George Washington: Foreign Affairs by Stephen Knott.
Matthew Bradshaw, CPSM, CPSD, C.P.M. is the Director of Programs for ISM-Houston, Inc.