A Policy of Neutrality

A Policy of Neutrality

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  • Oh la-la! Poor Bastille!
  • I support the French Revolution, so I will help you
  • Alexander, the French had the right to use violence to win freedom. After all, that's how we gained our freedom from the British.
  • Why do you still support them, Thomas? The French are violent and their revolution is doomed to fail.
  • When French ships arrived at American seaports in late 1789, they brought startling news. On July 14, an angry mob in Paris, France, had destroyed the Bastille, a fort that was being used as a prison.
  • It is the sincere wish of United America to have nothing to do with the squabbles of European nations.
  • The Americans understood what it was like to struggle for liberty. So, America decided to help the French and support the French Revolution.
  • Who to trade with?
  • After the violence in France, Thomas Jefferson continued to support the French. He felt the French had the right to use violence to win freedom. Alexander Hamilton disagreed with Thomas Jefferson. The United States did not want to get involved.
  • Washington had to form a foreign policy for the nation. A treaty allowed French ships to use American ports. The French wanted to use the American ports to supply their ships and launch attacks on British ships. Washington agrued that the treaty was invalid, since the king was dead.
  • American merchants wanted to trade with both France and Britain. But those warring nations ignored the rights of neutral ships. They seized American cargoes headed for each other's ports. Americans clamored for war. But, Washington knew that the United States were too weak to fight.
  • In 1796, Washington published his Farewell Adress. He announced he would retire. He urged the United States to remain neutral in its relations with other countries. He felt that interacting with other countries would pull the United States into war.
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