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Pinckney's Treaty

George Washington

Pinckney's Treaty: George Washington was the 1st American President who served in office from April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797. One of the important events during his presidency was the Pinckney's Treaty.

Definition of Pinckney's Treaty
Definition: Thomas Pinckney (1750 – 1828) was the US politician who arranged the 1795 Treaty with Spain, negotiated with Manuel de Godoy (1767 - 1851), the Prime Minister of Spain. It was called the Treaty of San Lorenzo, now popularly referred to as Pinckney's Treaty. Pinckney's Treaty was signed in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, in Madrid, Spain, on October 27, 1795. Pinckney's Treaty was ratified on March 7, 1796.

Purpose of Pinckney's Treaty
Purpose of Pinckney's Treaty: Pinckney's Treaty established intentions of friendship between the United States of America and Spain.

1795 Pinckney's Treaty for kids - History and Background
Pinckney's Treaty was another necessary treaty that was negotiated by the government of the new nation. The United States needed to consolidate their own position in the country, establish trade links with foreign nations and to keep out of the wars and conflicts that had erupted in Europe. Measures had been taken by the government to preserve U.S. neutrality in international relations by the
Neutrality Proclamation of 1793 that related to France and Britain and the 1794 Jay Treaty that had settled outstanding border disputes and enabled peaceful trade with Britain during the French Revolution. However, there were still issues to be settled with Spain and Pinckney's Treaty was negotiated.

Reason for the 1795 Pinckney's Treaty
The history and reason for 1795 Pinckney's Treaty with Spain were:

  • Both Spain and the US claimed parts of the present-day states of Alabama and Mississippi

  • The Spanish held posts and forts along the Mississippi River, within the limits of the United States, and refused to give them up

  • The Spanish were suppressing US trade and commerce via New Orleans

Reason for the 1795 Pinckney's Treaty - Trade and the Mississippi River
The southern and western borders of the US had been a source of great tension with Spain.  The Spanish were reluctant to encourage U.S. trade and settlement in such a strategic frontier area. The U.S. border extended to the Mississippi River, but the southern stretch of the Mississippi river remained in Spanish territory. The Spanish also held posts and forts on the Mississippi, within the limits of the United States, and refused to give them up. For 100 miles the Mississippi River flowed through Spanish territory. The farmers of Kentucky and Tennessee sent their goods by boat or raft down the Mississippi River to New Orleans from where the trade goods were loaded on ships and carried to the markets of the world. The Spanish had refused to let this trade and commerce to be continue.

Pinckney's Treaty for kids: Spain and the conflicts in Europe
Spanish interests changed during the volatile period of the French Revolution. Spain, with the other European monarchies, had declared war with France in 1793. But by 1794 the war was not going well for the Spanish who had experienced defeats in both Europe and the Caribbean. The Spanish prime minister, Manuel de Godoy, wanted to shift its alliances with European countries. Manuel de Godoy sought to extract Spain from its alliance with its traditional enemy Britain, and to restore peace with France.

Pinckney's Treaty for kids: The Effect of Jay's Treaty
Just as Spain was attempting to shift its political alliances, the United States and Britain had negotiated the Jay Treaty. The Spanish were extremely concerned that this new alliance would result in the British and the Americans mounting an invasion of Spanish possessions in North America. Spain promptly dropped the idea of shifting alliances and was ready to negotiate with the United States. 

Pinckney's Treaty for kids
The Spanish prime minister, Manuel de Godoy suggested that the U.S. Government entered into negotiations for a new treaty between Spain and the United States. President Washington nominated Thomas Pinckney to represent the United States in the negotiations. Thomas Pinckney traveled to Spain, arriving in June of 1795. Thomas Pinckney was a hard negotiator and Spain made the concessions he was looking for. Pinckney's Treaty was a great diplomatic success for the United States. Thomas Pinckney and Manuel de Godoy concluded the Treaty of San Lorenzo, also known as Pinckney’s Treaty, on October 27, 1795. Pinckney's Treaty:

  • Territorial disputes between Spain and the US were resolved

  • Spain agreed to abandon the forts and posts along the Mississippi

  • Spain granted American ships the right to free navigation of the Mississippi River

  • Spain agreed to permit western settlers the "right to deposit" their exports in New Orleans whilst awaiting shipment

Pinckney's Treaty for kids
The diplomatic success of Pinckney's Treaty made Thomas Pinckney hugely popular in the US. The Federalist party made him a candidate in the 1796 presidential election as the running-mate of John Adams. However, Thomas Jefferson was made vice-president and Thomas Pinckney finish in third place in the presidential race. Thomas Pinckney was elected to the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina in 1796.

US American History
1790-1800: The New Nation

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