29 February 1796

The Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain comes into force, facilitating ten years of peaceful trade between the two nations.

The Jay Treaty, officially known as the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, was signed on November 19, 1794, between the United States and Great Britain. It was negotiated by Chief Justice John Jay and aimed to resolve several ongoing disputes between the two nations following the American Revolutionary War.

British Occupation of Western Forts: One of the major issues addressed by the treaty was the British occupation of forts in the Northwestern Territory, which was ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The Jay Treaty required Britain to withdraw its troops from these forts by June 1796, although it allowed for some limited trading posts.

Trade Relations: The treaty sought to establish favorable commercial relations between the United States and Great Britain. It granted American merchants the right to trade in British territories in the Caribbean and elsewhere, which was crucial for American economic interests.

Neutral Rights and Maritime Trade: The treaty addressed issues related to neutral rights and maritime trade, which had been a point of contention between the two nations. It aimed to regulate trade and protect neutral American ships from British interference.

Compensation for Pre-Revolutionary War Debts: The Jay Treaty included provisions for the settlement of pre-Revolutionary War debts owed by Americans to British creditors and vice versa. It established a commission to adjudicate these claims.

Controversy and Opposition: The Jay Treaty was highly controversial in the United States and faced significant opposition, particularly from the Democratic-Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Critics argued that it favored Britain too much and undermined American sovereignty.

Ratification and Aftermath: Despite the controversy, the treaty was ratified by the Senate in 1795 and went into effect. However, it did not fully resolve all the issues between the United States and Britain, and tensions continued to simmer. Nonetheless, the Jay Treaty helped avert a potential war between the two nations and laid the groundwork for further diplomatic negotiations in the future.