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Washington stood fast-probably the most unpopular thing he ever did-and the treaty was ratified by·the Senate. That made the French very mad again. They had been sure that the pro-French republicans would force the United States into war with England. That was the state of things when John Adams succeeded Washington. Adams too was willing to pay a high price for peace. He sent a commission to Paris to pour oil on the waters there. France at that time was ruled by the corrupt Directory. The American commissioners were treated at first with silent contempt.

Madison's war. The clamor for war came not from the eastern seaboard at all but from the west-that is, from people who had no interest in ships and had never seen the sea. The war party of the west was hostile to the peace party of the east. Henry Clay of Kentucky was leader of the war party, called the War Hawks. He struck the chords of a new patriotism. Should this proud new Republic take the insults of foreign powers lying down? The first conscious feeling of nationalism began to stir in men's hearts; a forethought of continental destiny was in the air.

Nearly every line of political cleavage for more than one hundred and fifty years thereafter could be traced back to that triangle. The year was 1789. In that same year the French Revolution began; and for more than twenty years thereafter the young American Republic was dangerously and almost continuously embroiled in the angry affairs of Europe, with such consequences as( 1) a shattering division of the American household on lines of partisan passion, (2,) an undeclared war with the French at sea, and (3) the war of 1812 with Great Britain.

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American Story: The Real Story of the Real America from Its Beginnings to Now by Garet Garrett


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