The Quasi War: Tensions and Conflict between the United States and France

TLDR The Quasi War between the United States and France was a result of tensions caused by debt payments, nullification of agreements, and violations of treaties. The conflict led to the creation of the United States Navy, notable sea battles, and the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, ultimately ending with negotiations and the Treaty of Morte Fontaine.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The United States has never officially gone to war with France, except for the Quasi War, which is discussed in this episode.
02:18 Tensions between the United States and France grew after the American suspension of debt payments and the nullification of agreements following the execution of King Louis XVI and the establishment of a republic.
04:19 The J Treaty of 1794 between the United States and Britain, which resolved outstanding issues and improved trade relations, was seen as a violation of France's 1778 treaties with the US, leading to France seizing American merchant ships bound for Britain and causing significant losses.
06:24 The United States, lacking a navy, sent a delegation to France in 1797 to resolve the issue of France seizing American merchant ships, but were met with requests for bribes and a loan, leading to the XYZ Affair and increased demands for improving the country's defenses.
08:27 The United States, lacking a Navy, responded to piracy from the Barbary Coast by creating six frigates, proposing a 20,000-man army, and approving the use of force against French ships in American territorial waters, leading to the conflict being called a "quasi-war."
10:35 The United States Navy successfully attacked French privateer ships, capturing many French vessels and liberating American merchant ships, leading to notable sea battles and the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, but the end of hostilities was ultimately brought about by the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte and negotiations with his government.
12:34 The Treaty of Morte Fontaine officially ended the previous treaties between the United States and France, making the United States a neutral party on the seas, but it did not address the significant losses suffered by American merchants and ship owners, and it laid the groundwork for the Louisiana purchase and resulted in domestic changes such as the Alien and Sedition Act.
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