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Senate And House Consider Jay’s Treaty


Chief Justice John Jay, a special envoy, negotiates a treaty in which Britain withdraws from its forts in the American Northwest and opens ports in the West Indies to American shipping, in return for payment of America’s pre-Revolutionary War debts. Jay’s Treaty is highly unpopular, especially in the Southern states. The Senate ratifies it, but opponents in the House try to block the treaty by refusing to pass appropriations for its enforcement. President George Washington responds that the Constitution requires only Senate approval for treaties. The House then narrowly approves the appropriation.