Lucas de la TorreMs. JuddAmerican History De17 January 2018 During the American Revolutionary War, the French were one of the very few reasons that the Americans even had a chance to win the war.
They supplied with gun powder and naval support that helped the Americans move against the British. In the early 1790s the French people had their own revolution that seemed to draw much of its inspiration from the Americans (Hale 476). Most Americans agreed with the French Revolution but few opposed the revolution, like Vice President John Adams, who claimed it was a dangerous utopian experiment (Hale 476). Although in the beginning most agreed on the revolution being the best thing for France, The French Revolution would result in exposing and expanding the differences between the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalist, which ultimately influenced U.
S. foreign and domestic policies in the 1790s.The American populus would be split into two major political parties as a result of the French revolution, The Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and The Federalist, led by Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton believed that Americans should have nothing to do with the French efforts even if it meant cooperating with the British (Hale 476). The dispute between the Federalist and the Democratic-Republicans would be one of the worst internal disputes in America prior to the Civil War (Hale 477). Tensions rose so high that friendships broke, fights broke out in government halls, and there was talk of civil war and anarchy (Hale 477).In 1792 and early 1793 The French Revolution became a controversial debate due to the execution of King Louis XVI and the British now leading a european military alliance against the French made the support of the French Revolution a debate to the Americans (Hale 476).
Democratic-Republicans supported the revolution so largely that there often were parties, rallies, and events revolving around news of French victories or anniversaries of turning points and major events (Hale 477). Then the Federalist would spend time protesting by posting articles or publishing pamphlets discussing the Reign of Terror, the massacres revolving around the guillotine, and how the French people have been torn apart by reporting each other for conspiring against the new republic and not following the new laws (Hale 477).The British contributed to the division of the American people in many ways.
In 1792 the British declared war with the French and in 1793 when George Washington announced that America was going to remain neutral, the British refused to accept George Washington’s proclamation (Florence 145). In response to the British, Washington sent John Jay to england to create a treaty with British to avoid war (Florence 145). The Federalist agreed with this notion and supported the trade relationship the Americans had with the British while the Democratic-Republicans strongly disagreed with Jay’s Treaty and that the British tried to manipulate America by Turning down their neutrality(Florence 145). The French felt as upset as the Democratic-Republicans about the Treaty, they felt America was siding with the British. After the establishment of the French Republic and in response to the loss of support of the Americans the French started blocking and boarding American ships carrying British goods to try and forcefully take crew and make them prisoners or French militants in attempt to make the Americans choose a side and leave behind their neutrality (Hale 476). After the French foreign minister refused to meet with Americans, American and unofficial French representatives met to negotiate a treaty (Florence 146). The French attempted to extort a $250,000 bribe and a $10 million dollar loan from the American government to prevent a war (Florence 146).
In March of 1798, the Federalist became aware of the attempted extortion that would become known as the XYZ Affair and were infuriated with the French’s actions (Florence 146). In 1798, President John Adams, instead of declaring war on France, decided on a legislative program to prepare America for war (Florence 146). Congress then repealed the 1778 Treaties of Alliance, the system that America and France worked together under that allowed the French to provide economic and military help during the American Revolutionary (Florence 146). The United States moved forward and expanded the Navy, production of arms and munitions, and the defense of ports (Florence 146). The Navy would then move on to capture more than eighty French ships between the years of 1798 and 1800 in the Quasi War (Florence 146).In 1798 the Federalist Congress had passed a set of laws called the Alien and Sedition Acts, that were made intended to repress the Democratic-Republican press’s public political opposition to the Federalist and the war (Florence 146). The Sedition acts forbade the american people from “scandalous and malicious” writing or speaking against the United States government, including the President and house of Congress (Florence 146).
Federalist Judges accused fourteen and imprisoned ten Democratic-Republicans editors of engaging in malicious writing against the United States Government (Florence 146). The Federalist had majorly injured the connection between the Democratic-Republican political leaders and their followers effectively hurting the growth of the Democratic-Republican Party (Florence 146). When the Democratic-Republicans had no media platform to voice their opinions onto, they looked to the states to protect their rights (Florence 146). Jefferson and Madison wrote the Virginian and Kentucky Resolutions, that stated the states had the power to nullify federal laws that were unconstitutional (Florence 146). President John Adams went on to make peace and not wage war on Virginia or France, he reopened his negotiations with France in 1799 and in 1800 had successfully negotiated out of war with France (Florence 146). Although President John Adams disappointed the Federalist by not engaging in war, he may have prevented a civil war between the two parties and declined large tensions in America. The Federalist party then began to collapse due to internal disagreement between moderate Adams followers and Hamilton’s more extreme wing (Florence 146).
The Alien and Sedition acts expired and would never be renewed, and Democratic-Republicans won the following election in a great peaceful turn over of power between parties (Florence 146). The Quasi War had influenced a large part of American political life in the 1790s. The war brought on many internal conflicts that had separated the Democratic-Republican Party and the Federalist Party, these events would affect American politics by showing the great competition and effect party systems have on America. The French Revolution almost caused a great civil war in the American nation and controlled the American foreign and domestic policies for over a decade. The Quasi war would be America’s first large debate and challenge of civil rights that would be of many down the road to the creation of a new nation of equality and freedom.