Foreign policy, 1789-1860

  • Jay-Gardoqui Treaty

    The Jay-Gardoqui Treaty, also known as the Liberty Treaty with Spain, was a treaty negotiated with Spain by John Jay that would have given Spain exclusive rights to the Mississippi River. Congress sent Jay to Madrid attempting to open the Mississippi to Americans but were unhappy when Jay did not achieve this and vetoed the treaty.
  • The French Revolution Begins

    The French Revolution began in 1789, overthrowing the old Monarchy of the nation. Many Americans, remembering the help the French had given to the Patriots, supported the French Republicans over the French Monarchy. President Washington, however, believed that America was too weak for another war with a major European power and did not want to get into foreign entanglements, so he did not give any assistance to anybody in that war.
  • Proclamation of Neutrality

    The Proclamation of Neutrality asserted the United States would not take sides in the war between France and Great Britain. It was followed by the related Neutrality Act of 1794, making it illegal for the United States to declare a war with a country at peace with them.
  • Jay's Treaty Ratified

    The Jay Treaty was a treaty negotiated with Great Britain attempting to correct problems from the 1783 Treaty of Paris, but only caused more and angered many people.
  • Pinckney's Treaty

    Pinckney’s Treaty established good relations between Spain and the United States. It made the borders between the Spanish colonies and the US clearer and gave the US the right to use the Mississippi River. Spain signed this treaty partly because they feared an alliance with Great Britain.
  • Treaty of Tripoli

    The Treaty of Tripoli was a treaty of peace with the African nation of Tripoli-one of the Barbary states- ratified in 1797. The important part of this treaty was that the United States stated it was a non-religious nation.
  • XYZ Affair

    The French, angered by Jay’s treaty with England, began seizing American ships. When American representatives Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry headed to Paris for peace negotiations, three French agents publically known as X, Y, and Z demanded much money and an apology from President John Adams. The American public was enraged and coined the phrase “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute!” This started the Quasi-War, and undeclared war between the Uni
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    b. The Quasi War was a series of naval battles between France and England after the XYZ Affair. Just when all-out war seemed imminent, at the Convention of 1800, producing the Treaty of Montefontaine, ended the Quasi War and let America out of their 1778 alliance with France. However, France refused to pay damages for the American ships they had destroyed.
  • Lousiana Purchase

    Despite no provision that allowed it, President Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase from France without consulting Congress for a total sum of $15 million.
  • First Barbary War Ends

    Under the Treaty of Tripoli, the United States paid tribute to protect the ships of the Americans in the Mediterranean Sea area. However, Thomas Jefferson felt this would cost the young nation too much money so he went to war with the North African nations. On June 10, 1805, American forces were advancing on Tripoli proper so ruler Yussif Karamanali signed a treaty ending hostilities.
  • Non-Importation Act

    The non-importation act was an act passed by Congress restricting some of the British items that could be imported into the United States. It was an attempt to stop the British from impressing American sailors.
  • Embargo Act of 1807

    The Embargo Act of 1807 outlawed trade of all kinds with any nation because of British impressment and the recent war between Britain and France. The act hurt the American economy, helped lead to the War of 1812 and encouraged smuggling.
  • Macon's Bill No. 2

    The United States was sick of the embargo, so they lifted it with this bill. The bill repealed the embargo and also stated that if either France or Britain stopped impressing ships, the US would cease trade with the other. Napoleon sent a message to the US that he would do so, and President James Madison grudgingly accepted his offer. But Napoleon had no intention of doing so and continued to attack American ships. The British, who were already agitated with the US, were further angered by th
  • Beginning of War of 1812

    The War of 1812 was a war fought in 1812 between the Americans and the British on American soil. It lasted until 1815 and many battles were fought, including the burning down of the White House.
  • Treaty of Ghent

    The War of 1812 ended with this treaty, returning things to status quo ante bellum, or the way things were before war. Because of slow communications, the Battle of New Orleans and the Battle of Fort Bowyer was actually fought after the treaty was signed.
  • Signing of the Treaty of 1818

    The Treaty of 1818 was signed at the convention known as the Convention respecting fisheries, boundary and the restoration of slaves. The most important things that happened there were the agreement of join occupation of the Oregon territory, the American loss of the northern tip of the Louisiana Territory, and the gaining for them of Rupert’s Land in present-day in Minnesota.
  • Signing of the Adams-Onis Treaty

    The Adams-Onis Treaty purchased the Florida territory for the United States from Spain.
  • The Monroe Doctrine

    The Monroe Doctrine was a policy introduced by President James Monroe, who was not at all happy with what was happening around him in the world. The Monroe Doctrine asserted all Latin American territories that were independent would remain that way, no new states would come into creation under European influence, and any attempt by other countries to interfere with their independence would be countered by the United States.
  • The Caroline Affair

    The Caroline Affair was an event in 1837 that weakened the relationship between the United States and Great Britain. It started when a small group led by Will Mackenzie rebelled in Canada, wanting a government with higher Democratic qualities. A small steamer called the Caroline owned by US civilians gave money and supplies to this group. Some British loyalists living in Canada destroyed the Caroline, killing one American. The event went away after that but it made relations tense between the
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    The Aroostook War

    The Aroostook War was a war without any combat. It was a controversy over the border of Maine and Canada. Armed soldiers showed up at both sides and eventually a compromise was reached. However, that along with the Caroline Affair contributed to tense relations with Great Britain at the time.
  • Webster-Ashburton Treaty

    Signed between US Secretary of State Daniel Webster and British diplomat Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton, this treaty officially set the border between New Brunswick and Maine and also the border between Lake Superior and the Lake of the Woods.
  • Oregon Question

    The Oregon Question was a controversy over the border of the then-shared Oregon territory of the US and Great Britain. President James K. Polk led the motto of “Fifty-four forty or fight!”, meaning, the latitude and longitude location. However, he was going to war with Mexico and split the territory with Great Britain.
  • Treaty of Wanghia

    This was a treaty signed between the Qing Dynasty of China and the United States. It regulated tariffs, land, and gave foreigners to China the right to learn Chinese, which had been before outlawed. By many sources, it is considered and unequal treaty.
  • Annexation of Texas

    The US annexed the Republic of Texas in 1845 as the 28th state, which led to the 1846-1848 Mexican American war. This helped them gain even more territory, known as the Mexican Cession.
  • Mexican-American War Begins

    The Mexican-American War was a war that was provoked by James K. Polk when he sent soldiers into Texas’s disputed territory so the Mexicans would attack them. This would allow the United States to declare war on them.
  • Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo

    This Treaty, signed on February 2, 1848 and ratified on March 10 of the same year, ended the Mexican-American War. The Treaty defined the boundary between the two countries at the Rio Grande and Gila River; gave the United States land that is now California, western Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, parts of Texas, and Utah in exchange for $15 million; and Mexico agreed to settle the $3 million in claims by US citizens against Mexico.
  • Signing of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty

    This was a treaty between Great Britain and the United States with four main points.
    1. It did not permit exclusive control of the Panama Canal to either country.
    2. It asserted the nuetralizing of the canal.
    3. It guaranteed "to extend their protection by treaty stipulation to any other practicable communications, whether by canal or railway, across the isthmus which connects North and South America."
    4. It prohibited the colonization of any Central or South American nation.
  • Gadsden Purchase

    This was a purchase from Mexico negotiated by James Gadsden of 29,670 square miles that is part of present-day southern Arizona and New Mexico. It finished out the continguous United States. It includes Yuma and Tuscon.
  • Ratification of the Treaty of Kanagawa

    This treaty made available the Japanese ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to United States trade and gave the right of safety of shipwrecked U.S. sailors; but it didn't create a basis for establishing a permanent residence in these locations. It was negotiated by Commodore Matthew Perry after he showed up to Japan in 1854 with seven warships.