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What is the Jay Treaty?

June 24th

Jay's-treatyJune 24, 1795 — Officially titled the “Treaty of Amity Commerce and Navigation, between His Britannic Majesty; and The United States of America,” the John Jay Treaty was consented to by the US Senate today.

Jay (December 23, 1745 (December 12, 1745 OS) – May 17, 1829) was an American statesman, diplomat, and a signer of the Treaty of Paris — he is perhaps best known as the first Chief Justice of the United States (1789–95).

His treaty was designed to resolve conflicts between the US and Britain that lingered following the Revolutionary War, it was negotiated by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay and signed between the United States and Great Britain on November 19, 1794.

Tensions between the two countries had increased since the end of the War over British military posts still located in America’s northwestern territory and British interference with American trade and shipping.

Alexander Hamilton was in favor of the treaty — and many Jeffersonians also opposed it. They believed close ties to Britain supported an aristocracy instead of the Republicanism they found so hard for. In fact, George Washington was disappointed with the treaty’s provisions, but felt it was the best hope to avert war with Great Britain and submitted it to the Senate for approval.

Jay’s Treaty passed the Senate by a vote of 20 to 10, exactly the two-thirds required for approval.

Words of Wisdom

This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.

— Chief Justice John Jay, from "The Federalist Papers," 1787

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