the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Important nor will probably become much so in less

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important nor will probably become much so in less than twenty-five years, so a forbearance to use it while we do not want it is no great sacrifice.” And when the advancing wave of American settlements eventually reached the Mississippi Valley, Spanish control of navigation rights would die a natural death, much in the manner of any Native American presence east of the Mississippi. 39 In return for the temporary surrender of navigation rights, Jay obtained a significant concession from Gardoqui: namely, the granting of “favored nation” status with Spain for all American commodities except tobacco. Jay had violated his instructions in Paris and achieved stunning success. Now he was doing it again—striking a bargain with Spain that averted war and expanded American trade to boot. And
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there was even a collateral benefit that Jay noticed only near the end of the negotiations. In effect, by temporarily closing American access to the Mississippi, the proposed treaty would discourage settlers from venturing beyond the gradually advancing line envisioned in the Ordinance of 1785, thereby helping to ensure “compact seating.” 40 When Jay presented the proposed treaty to Congress in the summer of 1786, there was a thoroughly sectional split in the reaction. Northern states, which stood to gain the most from the new commercial agreement with Spain, were wholly supportive and praised Jay’s diplomatic savvy. Southern states, with little to gain, conjured up nightmare scenarios of western land values dropping precipitously because of the uncertainty generated by Spanish control of the Mississippi. In a long speech, Charles Pinckney of South Carolina foresaw western settlers throwing themselves into the arms of Spain and severing their connection with the United States. According to Pinckney, surrendering control of the Mississippi, even for a short time, placed American control of the entire domain at risk. 41 This was rather far-fetched, especially given Spain’s waning power, but mere mention of the Mississippi touched a raw nerve for most southern delegates, who regarded Jay’s pragmatic approach to the Mississippi Question as an unprincipled abandonment of America’s singular role as master of the eastern third of the continent. And speaking of singular roles, Jay’s insistence on conducting the negotiations privately and in total secrecy almost invited questions about a northern conspiracy. James Monroe, a Virginia delegate who had initially supported the treaty, had a political version of the conversion experience, concluding that Jay was complicitous in a plot to shift American policy toward the west in a way that sacrificed southern interests to some ill-defined northern plan for domination. “This is one of the most extraordinary transactions I have ever known,” Monroe wrote to Patrick Henry, “a minister negotiating expressly for the purpose of defeating the object of his instructions, and by a long train of intrigue and management seducing the representatives of the [northern] states to concur in it.”
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