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The Jay Treaty, Exchange Copy, November 19, 1794

On November 19, 1794, American emissary John Jay signed the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, better known as the Jay Treaty. The treaty’s intent was to reduce escalating tensions between the two countries. While the British promised to leave their military posts in the Northwest Territory, they refused to end interference with American trade and shipping or compensate for slaves freed during the Revolutionary War. Federalists believed the treaty would prevent war with Britain but Republicans thought it too high a price. The Senate narrowly approved the treaty on June 24, 1795.

General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

The Jay Treaty

Legislative Highlights

The U.S. Constitution states that “The Congress shall have Power…To make all Laws.” The original laws enacted by Congress are preserved at the National Archives. This page highlights some of the most historically significant laws Congress has passed throughout the nation’s history.