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Jay's Treaty

John Jay, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing right; left hand on upright book on table
John Jay, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing right; left hand on upright book on table / Albert Rosenthal, Phila., 1889.
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Jay’s Treaty, officially titled “Treaty of Amity Commerce and Navigation, between His Britannic Majesty; and The United States of America,” 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 Revolutionary War over British military posts still located in America's northwestern territory and British interference with American trade and shipping. Jay was only partially successful in getting Britain to meet America's demands and opposition to the treaty in the United States was intense. Although President George Washington was disappointed with the treaty’s provisions, he 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.

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Digital Collections

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation

This collection contains congressional publications from 1774 to 1875, including debates, bills, laws, and journals.

  • On June 8, 1795, President George Washington submitted to the Senate all of the documents related to the negotiation of Jay's Treaty.
  • The Senate passed Jay's Treaty by a vote of 20 to 10 on June 24, 1795. However, Jay's Treaty required that the House of Representatives appropriate funds for its implementation. Opponents in the House attempted to block the appropriation bill, with debate beginning on April 14, 1796. The appropriation for the treaty was narrowly approved by a vote of 51 to 48 on April 30, 1796.

The American State Papers contains additional documents related to U.S. foreign relations from 1789 to 1828.

Search in the 4th Congress to locate additional Congressional debate related to this treaty.

An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and other Printed Ephemera

The Printed Ephemera collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history.

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress

The complete George Washington Papers collection from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 65,000 documents.

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The James Madison Papers

The Madison Papers consist of approximately 12,000 items, spanning the period 1723-1859, captured in some 72,000 digital images.

Search Madison's papers in order to locate additional information on this topic.

The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress

The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents.

  • Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, September 6, 1795, "so general a burst of dissatisfaction never before appeared against any transaction. Those who understand the particular articles of it, condemn these articles. Those who do not understand them minutely, condemn it generally as wearing a hostile face to France."
  • Thomas Jefferson to Edward Rutledge, November 30, 1795, "in thinking the treaty an execrable thing . . . I trust the popular branch of our legislature will disapprove of it, and thus rid us of this infamous act, which is really nothing more than a treaty of alliance between England & the Anglomen of this country against the legislature & people of the United States."
  • Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, March 2, 1796, "the most remarkable political occurrence with us has been the treaty with England, of which no man in the U S. has had the effrontery to affirm that it was not a very bad one except A. H. [note: Alexander Hamilton] under the signature of Camillus. It's most zealous defenders only pretended that it was better than war, as if war was not invited rather than avoided by unfounded demands. I have never known the public pulse beat so full and in such universal union on any subject since the declaration of independence, the House of Representatives of the U. S. has manifested its disapprobation of the treaty."

Search Jefferson's papers to locate additional documents related to Jay's treaty.


John Bull & Uncle Sam: Four Centuries of British-American Relations

Today in History

December 12, 1745

John Jay, one of the nation's founding fathers, was born on December 12, 1745, to a prominent and wealthy family in the Province of New York.

Link disclaimerExternal Web Sites

Jay Treaty, The Lehrman Institute

Jay Treaty, Mount Vernon Estate

The Jay Treaty, U.S. Capitol Vistor Center

The Jay Treaty of 1794 and Associated Documents, Avalon Project at Yale Law School

John Jay's Treaty, 1794–95, Department of State

The Papers of John Jay, Columbia University

Uproar Over Senate Approval of Jay Treaty, United States Senate

Selected Bibliography

Primary Sources

The American Remembrancer, or, An Impartial Collection of Essays, Resolves, Speeches, &c. Relative, or Having Affinity, to the Treaty with Great Britain. 3 vols. Philadelphia: Printed by Henry Tuckniss, for Mathew Carey, 1795-96. [Catalog Record] [Volume 1] External Link [Volume 2] External Link [Volume 3] External Link

Cobbett, William. A Little Plain English: Addressed to the People of the United States, on the Treaty Negociated with His Britannic Majesty, and on the Conduct of the President Relative Thereto, in Answer to the Letters of Franklin: With a Supplement Containing an Account of the Turbulent and Factious Proceedings of the Opposers of the Treaty. Philadelphia: Published by Thomas Bradford, printer, bookseller and stationer, 1795. [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Dallas, Alexander James. Features of Mr. Jay's Treaty: To Which is Annexed a View of the Commerce of the United States, as it Stands at Present, and as it is Fixed by Mr. Jay's Treaty. Philadelphia: Printed for Matthew Carey by Lang & Ustick, 1795. [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Livingston, Robert R. Examination of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Between the United States and Great Britain, in Several Numbers / by Cato. New York: Re-published from the Argus by Thomas Greenleaf, 1795. [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Secondary Sources

Bemis, Samuel F. Jay's Treaty: A Study in Commerce and Diplomacy. 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1962. [Catalog Record]

Combs, Jerald A. The Jay Treaty: Political Battleground of the Founding Fathers. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970. [Catalog Record]

Elkins, Stanley, and Eric McKitrick. The Age of Federalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. [Catalog Record]

Ritcheson, Charles R. Aftermath of Revolution: British Policy toward the United States, 1783-1795. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1969. [Catalog Record]

Stahr, Walter. John Jay: Founding Father. New York: Hambledon, 2005. [Catalog Record]

Younger Readers

Kallen, Stuart A. John Jay. Edina, Minn.: ABDO Pub., 2001. [Catalog Record]

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