The First Rapprochement: England and the United States, 1795-1805

The First Rapprochement: England and the United States, 1795-1805

The First Rapprochement: England and the United States, 1795-1805

The First Rapprochement: England and the United States, 1795-1805

Excerpt

WHEN HISTORIANS EXAMINE THE DIPLOMACY OF JOHN ADAMS' ADMINistration, they concentrate on the undeclared war with France; when scholars seek out the threads woven into war by dashing Congressmen in 1812, they tend at least to trace these filaments back to the 1790's without properly placing them in the context of that period. Thus for two reasons an era of generally successful Anglo-American diplomacy is overlooked. This study attempts to suggest certain limitations in the conventional view of the relations between England and the United States following the Jay treaty.

As all acquainted with the period well know, controversy and discord did not come to an end in 1794. However, during the regime of John Adams and the first administration of Thomas Jefferson, the spirit of hostility was so powerfully challenged by other forces that the decade may he characterized as the period of "The First Rapprochement." For about ten years there was peace on the frontier, joint recognition of the value of commercial intercourse, and even, by comparison with both preceding and succeeding epochs, a muting of strife over ship seizures and impressment. Two controversies with France, one under each administration, pushed the English-speaking powers even more closely together.

My primary concern is with these relatively neglected developments, rather than with more familiar aspects of the decade or the chain of events culminating in President Madison's war message of June 1, 1812. His. torians have largely ignored the important problems of English as opposed to American opinion, the formulation of constructive British policy after years of negative obstruction, and the generally satisfactory state of Anglo-American relations from 1795 to 1804. Upon these matters, I have concentrated this study, while at the same time attempting to indicate the importance of the forces holding back the rapprochement.

My search for materials was made more successful by the assistance willingly provided by others. In England, R. L. Atkinson, Secretary of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, and the late Colonel G. E. G. Malet, Registrar of Archives, helped me to find elusive manuscript material subsequently kindly placed at my disposal by George GrenvilleFortescue . . .

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