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The war between France and the rest of Europe continued. By 1794 British officials became concerned that the Americans were trading mostly with the French West Indies during their period of “neutrality.” The British began to search, and then to seize, American merchants ships, many times imploring that the crews of these ships join the British navy. Washington sent Chief Justice John Jay to negotiate with the British, and the results were mixed at best. Jay was unable to get the British to promise not to undermine American freedom of the seas, and he was forced to comply with the British demand that they had the right to remove French products and materials from American ships. The British did agree to leave some of the forts they still occupied in the Northwest Territory.

Bitter political battles took place in America over Jay's Treaty. On the other hand, the treaty negotiated by Thomas Pinckney with Spain was extremely popular; by this treaty the United States gained navigating rights along the Mississippi River. The transport of farm produce from the South and the West got to markets much quicker as a result of this treaty.

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