James Madison's working copy of the Jay Treaty, November 19, 1794
Representative James Madison of Virginia opposed the Jay Treaty. Although the treaty required concessions such as removing British troops from the northwest, it lacked strong protections for American shipping. It did not uphold American views of freedom of the seas or neutrality rights. In addition, it left issues such as U.S.-Canadian boundaries to be settled later.
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
The Jay Treaty
In 1794 the U.S. government sent Chief Justice John Jay as envoy to Great Britain to negotiate a resolution to the growing conflicts regarding the British Navy’s seizure of U.S. ships, Americans’ debts to Britain, and Britain’s continued military presence in the northwest. The treaty Jay negotiated avoided war but delivered only a British promise to leave the northwest. The Senate narrowly approved the Jay Treaty in 1795, amidst protests that led to the nation’s first political parties—the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.