What was the Quasi War?
The expression 'Quasi War'
means it had some resemblance to a war, but was it was
unofficial and did not include military forces on land.
It was an undeclared war.
Reasons for the
Quasi War: Background and History for kids
The violent struggle in
(1789-1799) was drawing to a close. The French, previously allies of
the US, received no help from the US in their war against the
British. The Neutrality
Proclamation of 1793 had stated that the US would take no part
in a war between two or more other powers (meaning France and Great
Britain). France were infuriated when they heard of
Jay's Treaty (the 1794 Treaty with the
British). The French had hoped that the America would declare
war on the British - instead they had arranged a treaty. Diplomatic
relations between the US and France reached an all-time low
following the XYZ Affair in 1797, when
three French diplomats sent a letter asking for a $250,000 bribe
before arranging a meeting of the American delegation in France.
These were the reasons that contributed to what became known as the
Quasi War with France.
What was the
The Quasi War was
an undeclared war involving conflicts fought entirely at sea between
the United States of America and France.
When did the
Quasi War begin?
The Quasi War began
shortly after the Jay Treaty took effect in late 1794 when the
French began seizing American ships trading with Britain. However
the official start date of the Quasi War is July 7, 1798 when
Congress rescinded all treaties with France. The threat of war with
France led to the 1798
Alien and Sedition Acts.
When did the
Quasi War end?
The Quasi War ended
on September 30, 1800 when the Treaty of Mortefontaine ended
hostilities between the US and France.
Quasi War for kids: French Privateers
used by the French against the United States. The French privateers
were privately owned warships commissioned to prey on the commercial
shipping or warships of an enemy nation. The French privateers sailed along the American coasts and captured
US vessels off the entrances of the principal harbors.
Escalation of the
Quasi War (1797 - 1798)
The 1797 XYZ Affair
was the last straw for Americans. France had insulted and humiliated
the new nation. A wave of Anti-French feeling engulfed the nation.
French flags were burned and the people were outraged. George
Washington was appointed Commander-in-chief who started to organize
a provisional army and a navy department was organized. Congress
authorized President Adams to expand the navy to combat the French
privateers who continued to capture American merchant ships. There were
only a few ships in the US navy. A and the building of more warships was begun.
Efforts were made to quickly to increase the US navy as merchant
ships were bought and converted into cruisers.
Quasi War for kids: Treaties with France
On July 7, 1798,
Congress cancelled all treaties with France and the US Navy was
ordered to seek out and destroy French warships and privateers
operating against American merchant ships.
Conflicts during the Quasi War
The US Navy had
managed to get together a fleet of about 30 warships. These American warships drove the
French privateers to the West Indies
and even continued to chase them as they fled southwards. The USS
Delaware captured the French privateer La Croyable off New Jersey on
July 7, 1798. Then the American cruisers then began to capture French men-of-war. Captain Truxton, in the
Constellation, captured the French frigate L'Insurgent on February
9, 1799. Many other
French ships were captured. During the entire conflict of the Quasi
War, the US Navy only lost one warship. The US were highly
encouraged by their successes and preparations were made to carry on
the naval war even more vigorously against the French.
Quasi War for kids: The Treaty of 1800
The United States
might have been happy with their successes but the French became
extremely concerned. The French decided that they had been hasty in
their treatment of the Americans. The French backed down and said
that if another US Ambassador was sent to France, he would be
honorably received. Napoleon Bonaparte was now the ruler of France
he received the three US commissioners with respect and a treaty
between France and the US was soon signed.
It was referred to as the treaty of 1800.
Although Napoleon Bonaparte was gracious to the Americans he refused
to give way on two points. Bonaparte declined to pay for American
property seized by the French, and he insisted that the treaty of
1778 was still binding on both countries. It was finally agreed that
the United States would relinquish their claims for damages, and the
French government would permit the treaty to be annulled. President
Adams was pleased by the outcome but received many criticisms from
Federalists on the terms of the treaty who worked to prevent his
re-election to office.