The XYZ Affair

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  • Just a lonely American merchant ship, sailing to France . . . AHH! French warships!
  • Ha! You shall not trade with Britain, lonely American ship!
  • The Americans are not coming to trade with us (sad)
  • French warships continuously took American merchant ships that were headed towards Britain.
  • President John Adams sent three representatives to France to negotiate with French Foreign Minister Talleyrand to end the attacks.
  • French Foreign Minister Talleyrand refused to meet the representatives, and he sent three secret agents to meet them instead.
  • The secret agents, later nicknamed X, Y, and Z, demanded a tribute before  French Foreign Minister Talleyrand would meet with the American representatives.
  • The American envoys were shocked, and would not pay anything to the secret agents. When they returned to America, the country was furious.  
  • As a result, Congress voted to recruit 10,000 more men and 12 new ships for the navy. The infuriated Americans prepared for war.
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