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Laura Schoonover

Hist. 007A- Document Interpretation #4


Dr. Sachtjen
Nov. 29, 2015
Hamilton & Jefferson and The Master Class
In 1793 the Proclamation of Neutrality states that George Washington
would keep impartial toward the belligerent powers as well as
condemning and warning the citizens of the United States to keep
impartial views of the warring nations. The proclamation was intended
for the citizens of the United States in order to caution them of the
punishments that would ensue if citizens would rebel against
Washingtons statement. Washington was unwilling to protect any
American who chose to aid the warring nations due to the idea that
citizens of the United States would not obey the words of their leader,
George Washington and therefore would be violating the law.
During this time Britain treated the United States with a condescending
tone. The United States was unable to rein in Britain to obey the treaty
of 1783 that was once set for Britain to vacate military posts in the
Northwest Territory (Brands, p. 166). Britain continued to treat the
United States not as the lucrative country it would soon be. Britain was
controlling and inhibiting the United States from participating in the
West Indian Trade. Many challenges were present during this time
including those with other countries, not only Britain.
The French also presented other challenges to the United States during
this time. The French Revolution that was taking place at this time. In
hopes of generating income Louis XVI drew forces together known as
the Estates General. By bringing these individuals together it
essentially cost him his life and created what was known as the Reign
of Terror, which was made up of radical groups that killed thousands of
its adversaries.
This international tension was only more cause for Washington to
establish the idea of neutrality for the United States. It was easier said
than done. War broke out between France and Britain. Because of this
war Americas stance on shipping was shaken. Americas stance was
free ships make free goods. (Brands, p. 167). This was an issue due
to the fact that no one was able to determine whether or not the
Franco-American treaty of 1778 was still a valid and working treaty.
However, Brands states the treaty legally bound the United States to
support its old ally against Britain (p. 167).

Other United States officials were torn between neutrality and other
ways to avoid involvement by the United States in the war between
France and Britain. Hamilton and Jefferson were both uncertain on this
issue however; both opposed the United States involvement in the war.
Alexander Hamilton, who at the time was the Secretary of State, had
very interesting plans for the United States on how to have an impact
on France and Britain but avoid physical involvement in the war.
Hamiltons plan consisted of barring goods unless the countries would
accept the terms American neutrality. He also thought that if Frances
Navy would stop American trade ships on open waters and have them
serve Frances Hierarchy then America would grant France special
commercial advantages (Brands, p. 167).
Washingtons Proclamation of Neutrality continued to be a hard line to
accept. Continuing all the way into 1794 with the addition of the
negotiation of John Jay with Britain that would later be known as Jays
Treaty. Our textbook states that the treaty was a humiliation and
though the British agreed to surrender forts on U.S. territory, the
treaty provoked a storm of protest in America (Brands, p. 168).
Through all of this George Washington continued to fight and preserve
the peace that was once evident in the United States.