The XYZ Affair was a diplomatic incident between France and the United States that resulted in a limited, undeclared naval war with France known as the Quasi-War.

The XYZ Affair was a diplomatic incident between France and the United States that resulted in a limited, undeclared war known as the Quasi-War (1798-1800). The affair is named for three French representatives who demanded bribes from American envoys sent to France to meet avoid hostilities caused by French seizure of American merchant ships. When President Adams publicly released news of the French demands, he substituted the real names of the French diplomats with W, X, Y, and Z. Americans responded to the French demands with the rallying cry, “Millions for defense, but not one penny for tribute.”

Citation Information

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  • Article Title XYZ Affair
  • Coverage 1797–1798
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • URL
  • Access Date March 30, 2017
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 25, 2016