The XYZ Affair

Not a bad cartoon on the XYZ affair, although it leaves out the ensuing naval quasi-war with France.  This affair was an early demonstration of American distaste for the bribery that traditionally was a part of European diplomacy.  Talleyrand, the French foreign minister, was, to clean up the phrase that Napoleon applied to him, “Manure in a silk stocking.”, so it was a true culture clash of mores.  The XYZ affair and the quasi-war were important in helping to dampen the enthusiasm that the Jeffersonian Republicans had for Revolutionary France, and probably helped prevent an alliance with France during the Jefferson and Madison administrations.

Published in: on April 11, 2010 at 5:23 am  Comments (3)