A new episode of the Madison presidency series is now available!
June 18, 2017

1.10 – Agitations 2: Foreign Intrigues

1.10 – Agitations 2: Foreign Intrigues

Year(s) Discussed: 1789-1792

Numerous foreign relations issues faced Washington’s first administration. In this episode, we examine how the administration dealt with the Anglo-American trade imbalance, the impact of the French Revolution, Spanish attempts to break the lands west of the Appalachians away from the US, and what would prove to be the only successful major large scale slave insurrection that occurred in the French colony of Saint-Domingue at the beginning of what we now know of as the Haitian Revolution. Hope you have your seatbelts fastened, listeners, cause early 1790s diplomacy can be a bumpy ride!


As mentioned in the episode, should you like to learn more about the French Revolution or the Haitian Revolution, Mike Duncan on his Revolutions podcast has covered both. Thus, below are links to the first episode of his series on both:

Sources that I used for this episode are as follows:

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  • Blackburn, Robin. “Haiti, Slavery, and the Age of the Democratic Revolution.” William and Mary Quarterly. 3rd Series, 63:4 (October 2006) 643-674.
  • Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin Press, 2004.
  • Cunningham, Noble E, Jr. In Pursuit of Reason: The Life of Thomas Jefferson. New York: Ballantine Books, 1988 [1987].
  • Doyle, William. The Oxford History of the French Revolution. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989.
  • Duncan, Mike. Revolutions.
  • DuVal, Kathleen. Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution. New York: Random House, 2016 [2015].
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  • Hamilton, Alexander. “Federalist Eleven.” The Federalist. J R Pole, ed. Indianapolis, IN and Cambridge, Hackett Publishing Co Inc, 2005. pp 55-60.
  • Hamilton, Alexander. “Conversation with George Beckwith, [22 March-April 1790],” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-26-02-0002-0184. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802-23 October 1804, Additional Documents 1774-1799, Addenda and Errata, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 526-534.] [Last Accessed: 26 May 2017]
  • Hamilton, Alexander. “To Thomas Jefferson, 13 January 1791,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-07-02-0300. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 7, September 1790-January 1791, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1963, pp. 425-426.] [Last Accessed: 26 May 2017]
  • Hamilton, Alexander. “To George Washington, 22 September 1791,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-08-02-0384. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 8, 22 March 1791-22 September 1791, ed. Mark A. Mastromarino. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1999, pp. 552-554.] [Last Accessed: 27 May 2017]
  • Jefferson, Thomas. “To John Jay, 29 June 1789,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-15-02-0218. [Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 15, 27 March 1789 – 30 November 1789, ed. Julian P. Boyd. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958, pp. 221–223.] [Last Accessed: 21 May 2017]
  • Jefferson, Thomas. “To James Madison, 22 July 1789,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-15-02-0285. [Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 15, 27 March 1789 – 30 November 1789, ed. Julian P. Boyd. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958, pp. 299–301.] [Last Accessed: 21 May 2017]
  • Jefferson, Thomas. “To Diodati, 3 August 1789,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-15-02-0317. [Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 15, 27 March 1789 – 30 November 1789, ed. Julian P. Boyd. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958, pp. 325–327.] [Last Accessed: 21 May 2017]
  • Jefferson, Thomas. “To William Short, 24 November 1791,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified November 26, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-22-02-0303. [Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 22, 6 August 1791 – 31 December 1791, ed. Charles T. Cullen. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986, pp. 328–332.] [Last Accessed: 23 Jan 2018]
  • Jefferson, Thomas. “[to George Washington] Enclosure: Report on Commerce, 23 December 1791,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-22-02-0412. [Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 22, 6 August 1791 – 31 December 1791, ed. Charles T. Cullen. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986, pp. 438–440.] [Last Accessed: 23 May 2017]
  • Jefferson, Thomas. “Report on Matters for Negotiation with Great Britain, 12 December 1791,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-22-02-0366. [Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 22, 6 August 1791-31 December 1791, ed. Charles T. Cullen. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986, p. 395-396.] [Last Accessed: 23 May 2017]
  • Jefferson, Thomas. “Notes on British Commercial Relations with United States, [12 March 1792],” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-23-02-0225. [Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 23, 1 January–31 May 1792, ed. Charles T. Cullen. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990, pp. 270–271.] [Last Accessed: 23 May 2017]
  • LaFeber, Walter. The American Age: United States Foreign Policy at Home and Abroad since 1750. New York and London: W W Norton & Co, 1989.
  • Malone, Dumas. Jefferson and the Rights of Man: Jefferson and His Time Volume Two. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Co, 1951.
  • Matthewson, Timothy M. “George Washington’s Policy Toward the Haitian Revolution.” Diplomatic History. 3:3 [Summer 1979] 321-336.
  • Peterson, Merrill D. “Thomas Jefferson and Commercial Policy, 1783-1793.” The William and Mary Quarterly. 22:4 [October 1965] p. 584-610.
  • Schwarz, Michael. “The Great Divergence Reconsidered: Hamilton, Madison, and U.S.-British Relations, 1783-89.” Journal of the Early Republic. 27:3 [Fall 2017] pp. 407-436.
  • Sublette, Ned, and Constance Sublette. The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2016.
  • Wall, Samuel. “To George Washington, 16 September 1791,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-08-02-0374. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 8, 22 March 1791-22 September 1791, ed. Mark A. Mastromarino. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1999, pp. 536-538.] [Last Accessed: 27 May 2017]
  • Washington, George. “To James McHenry, 22 August 1785,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/04-03-02-0184. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series, vol. 3, 19 May 1785 – 31 March 1786, ed. W. W. Abbot. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994, pp. 197–199.] [Last Accessed: 21 May 2017]
  • Wills, Garry. “Negro President”: Jefferson and the Slave Power. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co, 2003.