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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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