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John Jay in The Federalists

John Jay (1745-1829) was the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court and an American diplomat to Spain and Great Britain. He played a critical role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Paris, urging American diplomats to pursue talks with Britain independent of France. Jay is best known for the treaty he negotiated with Great Britain in 1794 and ratified in 1795.

While many historians have concluded that the Jay Treaty of 1795 benefited American commerce and eased Anglo-American naval tensions, many of Jay's contemporaries protested its regional biases and its overly conciliatory character. Debate over the treaty in Congress and throughout the nation contributed to the crystallization of political divisions; some historians argue that it was the most important factor in the formation of the America's first party system.

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