Case 287 - The Neutrality Proclamation of 1793
Stevenson, Charles A.
When war broke out between France and Great Britain in 1793, the United States had to decide on its role in the conflict and the applicability of its treaty obligations toward France. In making his decisions, President George Washington set important precedents for U.S. foreign policy, presidential powers, and party politics. This case study, based on Cabinet papers and debates in the spring of 1793, allows students to think and argue through the policy chosen by Washington. It can be used to provoke class consideration of the origins of U.S. foreign policy, the evidence of “bureaucratic politics” even in the 18th century, the constitutional issues of executive power in foreign affairs, and Washington’s leadership style.