President George Washington had an excellent foreign policy. The president’s approach to foreign policy was largely cautious yet it succeeded in setting the foundation for the country’s future. The president avoided open conflicts with other nations while at the same time building the country’s economy. At that time, the country was still young and its military was still small. George Washington understood that the country could only gain respect abroad if it maintained a solid economic growth and expanded its military capacity.
The first test of the president’s foreign policy came in 1789. France was at loggerheads with Britain and was now seeking the support of the U.S. Earlier on, during the American Revolution, France had assisted the U.S with military and financial aid hence many people saw this as an opportunity for the U.S. to reciprocate. France wanted the U.S to engage British troops in Canada and British Ships sailing near the U.S. waters. However, President Washington declined to provide military aid to France. The president was fully aware that the country was weak and unstable to engage in a fight with a major European power.
The president’s second test of his foreign policy came in 1793. Britain announced the seizure of any ships trading with France. This statement caused so much panic and tension such that U.S. had to stop all its shipments overseas. This prompted the president to send an envoy to Britain. The president wanted to seek a diplomatic solution to the problem. However, the president’s envoy, John Jay negotiated a treaty that largely favored the British. The new treaty undermined the freedom to trade and failed to address the issue of compensation for the slaves taken during the American Revolution. Although the president was not satisfied with the elements of the treaty, he still went ahead to sign it. The move attracted open criticism to the president.
Nonetheless, the president did not bulge, and in the final term he still signed treaties with Algiers and Spain. Pirates used to attack U.S. ships, kidnap the crew and demand ransom. This forced the president to sign a treaty whereby the U.S would pay annual fees to Algiers. This move hardened the president’s desire to build a strong navy. The naval ships would later help to sole disputes with Algiers in the coming years. On the other hand, the treaty with Spain was a win for the president. Under the new treaty, Spain would stop inciting Native Americans to attack settlers and open up Mississippi and Ohio Rivers for access. This allowed settlement and flourishing of trade.
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