After a long battle for Independence, the colonial nation began to thrive by means of domestic and foreign policies. The four presidencies between the years of 1789 and 1812 each brought their own fair shares of abuse and success. European events largely impacted the United States domestic policies starting with the French Revolution, continuing to the heated embargo struggles and ultimately leading to the war of 1812.
The election of General George Washington was intelligent and impressive, for Washington, in his two-term presidency, did his best to keep the nation united and strayed from war. Immediately into his presidency, Washington is faced with the French Revolution in which the citizens of France rebel after being fed up with the aristocratic rulings of King Louis XVI. Louis in eventually executed in 1793, yet the French fighting continued until 1799. War disputes with America were contained until France entered rivalries with Britain. It is around this time in 1793 in which we find Washington asserting the Neutrality Proclamation. This was his way of attempting to keep the new nation safe from the dangers of war; if America decided to become un-neutral, and fight on the French side, Britain would have closed off all ports on the American coast from receiving goods from the French West Indies. As a result of the neutrality, Britain impressed seamen and seized over 300 American ships in the West Indies. The Federalists in America did not wish for drastic action to be taken in response to the British doings. Instead, congress sent John Jay to London to compromise the actions. Britain reluctantly agreed to abandon all of their posts on U.S. soil and pay for the damages done to the merchant ships as long as the U.S. agreed to pay all of their pre-revolutionary debts owed to Britain. The year now 1800, it has come time for a new president to be elected. In the new election, America is introduced to the “respectful irritation” known as John Adams. In Washington’s time, he managed to create westward expansion, solidly establish the central government, and keep the states out of war and other foreign disputes. As France hears of Jay’s Treaty with Britain, they begin seizing American merchant vessels out of hatred. They feared America was going to form an alliance with Britain. Britain, especially Napoleon Bonaparte, didn’t want much part in America, much more the war occurring. France eventually was issued with the Convention of 1800. If the French agreed, this would call for an end to the Franco-American Alliance, as long as the states paid the damage claims of American shippers. At this point in time, the Federalists remained pro-British while the Jeffersonian-Republicans remained pro-French. When initially elected, Adams was faced with the Alien and Sedition acts. The Alien acts called for foreigners to be a United States resident for fourteen years, rather than five, in order to become a citizen. The Sedition Act allowed citizen imprisonment for speaking out falsely or badly against the government – it was a drawback on the freedom of speech and press. With the exit of Adams and the entrance of Jefferson, a larger notice of foreign affairs becomes relevant. Jefferson begins by issuing the Naturalization Act in 1802 which returned the fourteen year residency requirement, enacted by the Alien Act, to a more desirable five years. In 1803, Jefferson sent James Monroe overseas to further inquire about the land in New Orleans and Louisiana with situated minster Robert Livingston. While waiting for Monroe, Livingston was rushed into talks of purchasing the region. Initially, Jefferson was seeking the purchase of New Orleans