George Washington


What was the Jay Treaty?

The Jay Treaty was a treaty with Great Britain that the United States signed in 1794 during Washington’s second term. At the time, British troops remained stationed in the American northwest in defiance of the Treaty of Paris, the treaty that ended the Revolutionary War. Great Britain claimed that the Americans had not paid back all pre-revolutionary debts. Also, British ships were blocking American merchant vessels in the Caribbean in an attempt to stem American trade with France.

Washington sent Chief Justice John Jay to negotiate a treaty with British officials. The resulting agreement was known as the Jay Treaty. The British agreed to remove their troops from the Ohio frontier. America’s debts would be settled by arbitration. The British received most favored nation status for trading. Though criticized, the treaty—which was in effect for ten years—prevented an American-British conflict for many years, until the War of 1812.


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