As America took her place among the other nations of the world in the late 18c, she had
to deal with many new foreign policy issues. Most of these issues dealt with America's quest to
stay neutral and problems with France and England.
In 1793, George Washington issued his proclamation of neutrality saying that the United
States should "pursue a conduct friendly and impartial toward the belligerent Powers." (A). He
did not feel that the United States should put themselves in the affairs of Europe. The United
States should try to remain neutral at all times. The United States did not always follow these
ideas though and began to get involved in Europe's problems. By 1794, relations with England
had began to worsen. Washington sent John Jay to London to try to solve some of the problem
issues with England. Since the revolution tension had been building up over many issues
including British occupation of western ports and the failure of England to honor clauses of the
peace treaty of 1783 such as the interference with American neutral shipping and impressments
of American seamen. The treaty John Jay came home with resolved almost none of the problems.
England agreed to vacate the western posts, but not "before the first day of June 1796"(D). This
was a year away, and England also demanded uninterrupted access to the fur trade on American
Soil of the Great Lakes. The British would not offer guarantees against the future impressment of
American seamen. Perhaps most importantly, England refused to compromise on the issue of
neutral rights, declaring that it would decide what America's rights would be. The United States
was outraged by the treaty that Jay brought back. Relations with England still remained tense.
England was not the only European country that the United States wahaving problems with,
there were also many unsolved problems with France. As soon as Adams took office problems
began to arise with France. He sent a three person committee to try to make an accord that
would ease diplomatic relations between the two countries. This did not turn out as hoped
however. When the commission arrived in France they were met by agents of the foreign
minister. They said that the only way the negotiations would be a success was depending on a
prior loan to the French government and a large gratuity. The two federalist commissioners
rejected these demands and went home, the third commissioner stayed in France hoping that a
compromise would be made and alarmed by France's threat for war if all three Americans left.
This was known as the XYZ affair (B). It completely outraged Americans. It also gave the
Federalists and excuse to urge a declaration of war. The XYZ affair caused the Americans to gain
more and more hatred towards France.
In order to make the United States a stronger country that would be able to compete with the
world powers the Jeffersonians felt they needed to expand the country's territory. In 1803,
President Jefferson made one of his bestaccomplishments of his presidency. He purchased the
Louisiana Territory from France for the "sum of sixty million francs" (E). This was a huge bargain
For the amount of land America would be receiving. The nation's size was nearly doubled. This
was all done during a time of peace with France. This was also the beginning of a new role for the
United States as a power. Jefferson tried very much to base his foreign policy on that of
Washington's proclamation of neutrality. Once President Monroe took office America was on her
way to becoming a strong political world power. In 1823, President Monroe decided to take a
stand and issue our own political statement to the European powers. Firstly, he stated that " the
American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and
maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for the future colonization by an
European powers" (H). This was saying that the American continent was closed to any new
European colonization. It also acknowledged that " the political system of the Allied Powers is
essentially different...from that of America." Since the political systems were different that gave
Europeans no right to tell the United States how they should be running their government. The
United States also wanted to demonstrate their rule in the Western Hemisphere, including Latin
America. They "should consider any attempt on their part [Europe] to extend their system to any
portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety." If Europe attempted to gain
any form of control, or get involved in any of the affairs in the Western Hemisphere, the United
States would not hesitate to take action. In turn, the United Sates also promised not to interfere
with existing colonies in the New World or interfere with the affairs of Europe.
In conclusion, the foreign policy of the United States changed dramatically from 1793-1825.
Starting out as a fresh new country with little power, the United States quickly showed that they
too would become a strong world power not to be messed with. The Monroe Doctrine clearly
became the turning point that showed the United States beginning to be the world power
that it is today.
Click here for a grading rubric -->