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Senate roll call on the Jay Treaty, June 24, 1795

Despite private doubts and public opposition, President George Washington believed the Jay Treaty would avoid war with Great Britain, and he submitted it to the Senate for approval. The Senate’s anti-administration minority attempted to block ratification, but the Federalist majority prevailed and approved the treaty. The final vote met the minimum two-thirds requirement—20 votes for the treaty and 10 against it.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

Senate roll call on the Jay Treaty, June 24, 1795

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.