The Xyz Affair: Challenges Related To The French Revolution

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Adam’s presidency was consumed with challenges related to the French Revolution. To begin with, U.S. ships were being seized by French warships and privateers. Although Adams attempted to remain neutral throughout this whole situation with France, he failed to do so. Seeking a peaceful settlement, Adams sent a delegation to Paris to negotiate with the French government as a part of his policy. Instead, X, Y, and Z confronted them with bribes. American delegates refused to pay the bribes. This event became known as the XYZ Affair. American citizens became angered by this event and clamored to go to war against France. President Adams decided to avoid going to war. Rather, his party took advantage of their power by enacting laws in order to protect …show more content…
He wanted to resolve their issues with France peacefully. Yet it had only deepened their situation with France when attempting to do so. In Document K, the picture shows the French warships taking over American ships. Adams’ attempt to resolve this situation was to send American delegates over to France to discuss their issues. During the event known as the XYZ Affair, Adams sent a delegation to Paris to negotiate with the French government. French ministers are known as X, Y, and Z requested bribes for entering into negotiations. The American delegates simply refused to pay these bribes. In Document B, Pinckney says, “Said he, gentlemen, you do not speak to the point; it is money: it is expected that you will offer money...We replied, it is no; no; not a sixpence.” This event caused Americans to become infuriated with France as they wanted to go to war with them. Instead of resolving the situation, Adams and his administration were more troubled. Now, not only were the French upset, the American citizens were as well. The administration’s policy in order to attempt to resolve their issues with France in peace was …show more content…
Once the Federalists enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts, their situation became worse. American citizens were not pleased with the fact their rights were being violated. The Sedition Acts made it illegal for newspaper editors to criticize the government. The government imposed punishments for editors who violated this law. This act violated the freedom of the press, which is under the First Amendment. Stated in Document F, “the liberty of conscience and the press cannot be canceled, abridged, restrained, or modified by any authority of the United States.” By even enacting these acts, it meant the federal government was exercising a power that was never given to them in the first place. Document F states, “Alien and Seditions Acts, passed at the last session of Congress; the first of which exercises a power nowhere delegated to the federal government”. The administration’s foreign policy was not protecting Americans, rather violating their rights.
Adams and his administration created a foreign policy that was ineffective, timid and it did not protect Americans’ rights. Although they attempted to follow Washington’s neutrality policy, they failed to do so and only complicated themselves with France. The policy created to handle the situation in peace was ineffective. The policy created also proved that they were timid and only wanted to protect themselves. In the end,

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