French Revolution

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In the decade after the birth of the United States was assisted by the monarchy of France, the French Revolution over threw the Ancient Regime and installed a new government. In theory, it was based on the principles of the American Revolution, but in practice it was violently unstable and respected no liberties except those of the people in charge at the moment.

This created a foreign policy dilemma for the United States. Some Americans were enthusiastic over the principle of the French Revolution, while others dismayed at the practice, particularly the disdain for wealth and position. The party which formed under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson was called Republican in reference to the French Republic. The Federalists, on the contrary, sought to distance the new nation from France.

Despite military confrontation between its former enemy Britain and its former ally France, George Washington was determined to avoid entanglement and declared the treaty with France to be inoperative.

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