Apush Dbq 2

Topics: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, United States Pages: 4 (1401 words) Published: January 2, 2012
During the Washington, Adams, and Jefferson administrations (from 1776 to 1807) neutrality was America’s main foreign policy. In determining that neutrality was the overall focus of American diplomacy, one must assess the deviations from, as well as the success, of neutrality. Neutrality was originally implemented by George Washington in order to maintain the young country’s best interests. However, lapses in neutrality occurred when the government was forced to favor one foreign power, either Great Britain or France, through treaties. Furthermore, commercial interests ultimately drove America’s decisions and thus influenced the effectiveness of neutrality. Despite such lapses in success, America’s number one foreign policy remained neutrality. Political leaders found involvement in European affairs to be irrelevant and detrimental to the young nation, thus neutrality was the primary focus of America. George Washington was a strong supporter of neutrality despite his highly opinionated cabinet (Hamilton was pro-British and Jefferson pro-French). In 1793, in response to King Louis XVI’s beheading in the French Revolution, Washington issued the Proclamation of Neutrality which stated that America would “adopt and pursue a conduct friendly and impartial toward the belligerent Powers...” (D). Washington opted to remain neutral in order to avoid conflict with Britain and France, refusing to side with either one. Furthermore, Washington emphasized the necessity of neutrality in his farewell address in 1796. He explained that the “great rule of conduct for [Americans] in regard to foreign nations...” was to have “...as little political connection as possible” (J). Thus, Washington established the importance of neutrality which was also supported by John Adams. During the Revolutionary War (right after the Battle of Saratoga) the Americans formed the Franco-American alliance and gained French support from the king. However, John Adams wrote in his diary in 1775, “That We...
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