John Jay, Portrait

Founding Father John Jay negotiated the “Treaty of Amity Commerce and Navigation between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America” with Britain. Image Source: Wikipedia.

Jay Treaty

November 19, 1794

The Jay Treaty was a treaty that Founding Father John Jay negotiated with Britain in 1794. The treaty successfully avoided war with Britain but was unpopular in the United States and France.

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Summary of the Jay Treaty

The Jay Treaty, also known as Jay’s Treaty and the Treaty of London, was a diplomatic attempt to resolve festering differences and deteriorating conditions between the United States and Great Britain. The chief negotiator for the United States was John Jay. Signed on November 19, 1794, and ratified by the Senate on June 24, 1795, the treaty was highly unpopular with the American public. Although the Jay Treaty resolved very little, it did forestall a military confrontation with Great Britain, which eventually occurred in 1812, by which time the U.S. was on firmer footing.

Jay Treaty — Quick Facts

Facts about the Jay Treaty, including dates, participants, the impact, and more interesting details you might not know. This fact sheet provides a quick overview of the treaty and is for kids doing research and students preparing for the AP U.S. History (APUSH) exam.

  • Negotiated between the United States and Great Britain.
  • The official name of the Jay Treaty is the “Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America.”
  • Also known as Jay’s Treaty and Treaty of London.
  • The purpose of the negotiations was to remedy deteriorating conditions between the United States and Great Britain.
  • Issues addressed were Britain’s tardy evacuation of forts on the American frontier, Britain’s impressment of American sailors, Britain’s seizure of naval and military supplies bound to enemy ports on neutral ships, and American navigation laws that were potentially damaging to Britain.
  • Signed by representatives from both nations on November 19, 1794.
  • Ratified by U.S. Senate on June 24, 1795.
  • The treaty proved unpopular with the American public because it resolved very few of the issues between the two nations.
  • The issues of wartime debts and the US-Canada boundary were sent to arbitration–one of the first major uses of arbitration in diplomatic history.
  • Alexander Hamilton’s behind-the-scenes interference may have undermined Jay’s ability to negotiate a stronger treaty.
  • Opposition to the treaty was led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
  • The treaty did have the effect of forestalling a military confrontation with Great Britain, which eventually occurred in 1812, by which time the U.S. was on firmer footing.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Jay Treaty
  • Coverage November 19, 1794
  • Author
  • Keywords Jay Treaty, John Jay
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date May 26, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update May 6, 2022
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