XYZ Affair

failed diplomatic attemptsLucien HautevalM. HautevalPierre BellamyX.Y.Z.
The XYZ Affair was a political and diplomatic episode in 1797-1798, early in the presidency of John Adams, involving a confrontation between the United States and Republican France that led to the Quasi-War.wikipedia
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Presidency of John Adams

John Adamspresidency2
The XYZ Affair was a political and diplomatic episode in 1797-1798, early in the presidency of John Adams, involving a confrontation between the United States and Republican France that led to the Quasi-War.
Attempts to negotiate with the French led to the XYZ Affair, in which French officials demanded bribes before they would assent to the beginning of negotiations.

History of the United States (1789–1849)

antebellumantebellum periodHistory of the United States (1789-1849)
The XYZ Affair was a political and diplomatic episode in 1797-1798, early in the presidency of John Adams, involving a confrontation between the United States and Republican France that led to the Quasi-War.
Federalists used the "XYZ Affair" to create a new American army, strengthen the fledgling United States Navy, impose the Alien and Sedition Acts to stop pro-French activities (which had severe repercussions for American civil liberties), and enact new taxes to pay for it.

John Marshall

Chief Justice MarshallMarshallChief Justice John Marshall
The diplomats, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry, were approached through informal channels by agents of the French foreign minister, Talleyrand, who demanded bribes and a loan before formal negotiations could begin.
In what became known as the XYZ Affair, the government of France refused to open negotiations unless the United States agreed to pay bribes.

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Charles C. PinckneyCharles PinckneyPinckney
The diplomats, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry, were approached through informal channels by agents of the French foreign minister, Talleyrand, who demanded bribes and a loan before formal negotiations could begin. Shortly after assuming office on March 4, 1797, President John Adams learned that Charles Cotesworth Pinckney had been refused as U.S. minister because of the escalating crisis, and that American merchant ships had been seized in the Caribbean.
In what became known as the XYZ Affair, the French demanded a bribe before they would agree to meet with the U.S. delegation.

Elbridge Gerry

Elbridge T. GerryMr. GerryDeath of Elbridge Gerry
The diplomats, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry, were approached through informal channels by agents of the French foreign minister, Talleyrand, who demanded bribes and a loan before formal negotiations could begin.
He was a member of a diplomatic delegation to France that was treated poorly in the XYZ Affair, in which Federalists held him responsible for a breakdown in negotiations.

Quasi-War

Quasi WarQuasi-War with Franceundeclared war
The XYZ Affair was a political and diplomatic episode in 1797-1798, early in the presidency of John Adams, involving a confrontation between the United States and Republican France that led to the Quasi-War.
In April 1798, President Adams informed Congress of the "XYZ Affair", in which French agents demanded a large bribe before engaging in substantive negotiations with United States diplomats.

Democratic-Republican Party

Democratic-RepublicanDemocratic-RepublicansRepublican
They also attacked the Democratic-Republicans for their pro-French stance, and Gerry (a nonpartisan at the time) for what they saw as his role in the commission's failure.
The failure of talks, and the French demand for bribes in what became known as the XYZ Affair, outraged the American public and led to the Quasi-War, an undeclared naval war between France and the United States.

Federalist Party

FederalistFederalistsF
Federalists, who controlled both houses of Congress and held the presidency, took advantage of the national anger to build up the nation's military.
After an American delegation was insulted in Paris in the XYZ affair (1797), public opinion ran strongly against the French.

List of ambassadors of the United States to France

United States Ambassador to FranceU.S. Minister to FranceU.S. Ambassador to France
Shortly after assuming office on March 4, 1797, President John Adams learned that Charles Cotesworth Pinckney had been refused as U.S. minister because of the escalating crisis, and that American merchant ships had been seized in the Caribbean.
French officials demanded a bribe before they would commence negotiations, scuttling the mission in the XYZ Affair.

France–United States relations

Franco-American relationsFrance – United States relationsFrance
In response, he called upon Congress to meet and address the deteriorating state of French–American relations during a special session to be held that May.
Adams exposed the episode, known as the "XYZ Affair", which greatly offended Americans even though such bribery was not uncommon among the courts of Europe.

French Directory

DirectoryDirectoireDirectorate
With the Jay Treaty, ratified in 1795, the United States reached an agreement on the matter with Britain that angered members of the Directory that governed France.
The XYZ Affair told Americans about the negotiations and angered American public opinion.

Thomas Jefferson

JeffersonPresident JeffersonJeffersonian
Vice President Thomas Jefferson, himself a republican, looked upon Federalists as monarchists who were linked to Britain and therefore hostile to American values.
After Adams's initial peace envoys were rebuffed, Jefferson and his supporters lobbied for the release of papers related to the incident, called the XYZ Affair after the letters used to disguise the identities of the French officials involved.

John Adams

AdamsJohnPresident John Adams
Shortly after assuming office on March 4, 1797, President John Adams learned that Charles Cotesworth Pinckney had been refused as U.S. minister because of the escalating crisis, and that American merchant ships had been seized in the Caribbean.
Sentiments changed with the XYZ Affair.

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

TalleyrandCharles Maurice de TalleyrandCharles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
The diplomats, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry, were approached through informal channels by agents of the French foreign minister, Talleyrand, who demanded bribes and a loan before formal negotiations could begin.
He was behind the demand for bribes in the XYZ Affair which escalated into the Quasi-War, an undeclared naval war with the United States, 1798–1800.

Convention of 1800

Treaty of MortefontaineConvention of 1800 (Treaty of Mortefontaine)peace treaty
In response to the diplomatic overtures he made to William Vans Murray in The Hague, President Adams sent negotiators to France in 1799 who eventually negotiated an end to hostilities with the Convention of 1800 (whose negotiations were managed in part by Marshall, then Secretary of State) in September 1800.
That action and anger over the 1797 diplomatic dispute known as the XYZ Affair, resulted in Congress canceling the 1778 Treaties and authorising attacks on French warships in American waters on July 7, 1798, which led to the Quasi-War of 1798–1800.

Timeline of United States diplomatic history

American diplomatic historyConsul GeneralDiplomatic history
* Timeline of United States diplomatic history

Baron Jean-Conrad Hottinguer

Jean-Conrad HottingerJean-Conrad HottinguerJean Conrad Hottinguer
The name derives from the substitution of the letters X, Y and Z for the names of French diplomats Jean Conrad Hottinguer (X), Pierre Bellamy (Y), and Lucien Hauteval (Z) in documents released by the Adams administration.
In the late 18th century, Hottinguer was one of the French agents involved in the XYZ Affair, a much-publicized diplomatic scandal between France and the United States.

Treaty of Alliance (1778)

Treaty of Alliance1778 Treaty of Alliancealliance
Congress nonetheless authorized the acquisition of twelve frigates, and made other appropriations to increase military readiness; it also, on July 7, 1798, voted to nullify the 1778 Treaty of Alliance with France, and two days later authorized attacks on French warships.
The growing public sentiment against the treaty culminated during the Presidency of John Adams, in the official annulment of the treaty by the United States Congress on July 7, 1798 after France's refusal to receive American envoys, and normalize relations, during the XYZ Affair.

French First Republic

French RepublicFranceFirst French Republic
The XYZ Affair was a political and diplomatic episode in 1797-1798, early in the presidency of John Adams, involving a confrontation between the United States and Republican France that led to the Quasi-War. In the wake of the 1789 French Revolution, relations between the new French Republic and U.S. federal government became strained.

Diplomacy

diplomatic relationsdiplomatdiplomatic
Although such demands were not uncommon in mainland European diplomacy of the time, the Americans were offended by them, and eventually left France without ever engaging in formal negotiations.

United States Congress

CongressU.S. CongressCongressional
Federalists, who controlled both houses of Congress and held the presidency, took advantage of the national anger to build up the nation's military. In response, he called upon Congress to meet and address the deteriorating state of French–American relations during a special session to be held that May.

President of the United States

PresidentU.S. PresidentUnited States President
Federalists, who controlled both houses of Congress and held the presidency, took advantage of the national anger to build up the nation's military.

Nonpartisanism

nonpartisannon-partisancross-party
They also attacked the Democratic-Republicans for their pro-French stance, and Gerry (a nonpartisan at the time) for what they saw as his role in the commission's failure.

French Revolution

RevolutionRevolutionary FranceRevolutionary
In the wake of the 1789 French Revolution, relations between the new French Republic and U.S. federal government became strained.

Federal government of the United States

United States governmentU.S. governmentfederal government
In the wake of the 1789 French Revolution, relations between the new French Republic and U.S. federal government became strained.