Wednesday, October 25, 2006

XYZ Affair

In the year of 1794, in concern of a potential war between the French, President John Adams sent special commissioners to France. He believed that by taking this course of action he could reduce tensions the French had against the Americans due to the Jay Treaty. The French felt as though their American allies were going back on their words of neutrality by becoming pro-British. John Marshall, Elbridge Gerry, and Charles Pickney were the three commissioners sent by Adams. The men reached Paris in 1797 in hope of a resolution. However, the outcome was quite the contrary.

Upon arriving in France, the three commissioners met with the French minister Talleyrand. Talleyrand's agents, known as X, Y, and Z, haughtily requested a bribe of $250,000 and a loan of $32 million in payment of receiving the privelege to speak with their minister. How conceited is that? Because of these requests, war-related emotions began to rise within the American nation. Alexander Hamilton was determined to influence President Adams to raise an army against France, but he would not permit it. Since Adams was not swayed and stood on his word of not desiring to go to war with his nation's current ally, he succeeded in an agreement of both countries. He decided to send another mission to France two years later. Therefore, the relationship between both France and America was repaired. By observing Adams's response in the midst of chaos and confusion, I perceive him to be the kind of man that would not allow outside factors to alter his good judgement of a specific situation that would soon affect the nation he governed.


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