Essay about Early American Politics and Law 1794-1795

Submitted By amykdee
Words: 2230
Pages: 9

The United States of America, fresh out of a revolutionary war with Great Britain, no longer colonies gathered together as subjects of the crown, but an independent nation of states and founders planting the seeds of democracy during the year of 1795. By this decade the first party political system had begun to form, or, in fact had formed and were known as the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans or simply Republicans. At this time the Federalists were in power, with George Washington serving his second term in office having won a gross majority of the electoral votes. While the Federalists were keen on keeping America a republic devoid of any substantial democratic ideals, the Republicans were vehemently grasping the great chain of democracy and pulling hard toward their own interests. The Federalists unknowingly sowed the seeds of democracy through fractures in their governing policies, fueling the fire for the Republican pro-democracy fight, while still constructing the beginnings of law in America. Years after the Revolutionary War had come to a conclusion, tensions were still flaring between the British and Americans, due to the plethora of unresolved issues that were supposed to be repaired by the Treaty of Paris. According to A Patriot’s History of the United States, “American conflicts with Britain were numerous: finalization of disputed Maine-Canadian boundary; British evacuation of Northwest posts; overdue compensation to American slave owners; and, most important British acknowledgement of freedom of the seas--the right of American ships to trade with the French West Indies and continental Europe without fear of seizure and impressment.” These unresolved issues became much more pressing to the US as the French and British began their own war against one another. The Federalists, wanting to stay as neutral as possible so as to avoid another war but still more in favor of the British, began to devise another treaty aimed at once again resolving the discrepancies. Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of Treasury and also a Federalist, was the main voice of the treaty having primarily come up with the terms. Backers included President George Washington as well as John Jay (Federalist) the chief negotiator, who the treaty soon came to be known after. John Jay negotiated the treaty on his Federalist terms giving the British an upper hand on most of the issues. On November 19th 1794 Jay’s Treaty was signed with these terms: compensation for American slavers was dropped, the British definition of neutrality at sea was agreed upon, the Maine-Canadian border dispute was sent to arbitration, the US government accepted “all losses arising from debts to British Merchants,” the British by 1796 were to be evacuated from the Northwest post “opening the fur trade in the region,” in the French West Indies small American ships less than 70 tons could do business with the French, and the US and Britain granted one another the trading status of most-favored-nation.
The Federalists, being pro-British, were satisfied with the results of the treaty, which strengthened trade and economic ties with Britain. On the other hand the pro-French Republicans were enraged along with many additional Americans. Southerners despised the fact that John Jay so willingly dropped the compensation that was due to the slavers, and Northerners disliked the trade clauses because of the fact that the northern ports were major trading hubs thus fair trade being the main source of economy. Republicans, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, also the party founders, screamed treason toward Jay and openly expressed their distaste and hate of the treaty through impassioned writings. Jefferson while writing to James Monroe stated, “so general a burst of dissatisfaction never before appeared against any transaction. Those who understand the particular articles of it, condemn these articles. Those who do not understand them minutely, condemn it generally