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The Genet Mission
     

The Genet Mission

by Harry Ammon
 

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Few episodes in the history of American foreign relations are as fascinating as the mission of Edmund Genet, the first minister sent to the United States from the new French Republic. Genet arrived in 1793, anxious to win support for France against Britain and other “enemies of republicanism.” However, within months after his arrival, his confrontations

Overview

Few episodes in the history of American foreign relations are as fascinating as the mission of Edmund Genet, the first minister sent to the United States from the new French Republic. Genet arrived in 1793, anxious to win support for France against Britain and other “enemies of republicanism.” However, within months after his arrival, his confrontations with the Washington administration brought relations between the two countries almost to the point of rupture.
While Genet had considerable shortcomings as a diplomat, more important was his inability to accept the irreconcilable differences between the two countries, particularly in their commitment to popular sovereignty and the doctrine of the rights of man. In addition, neither Genet nor his government understood the nature or power of the presidency; in his efforts to win popular support for the French cause, Genet provoked Washington and his cabinet, and the administration eventually demanded the minister’s recall. While the mission ended in failure, the public controversy stirred up by Genet constituted a vital step in the formation of the first political parties in the United States. The debate over his demands, which involved common people to an unprecedented degree, led to the infusion of a more democratic strain into the political process, long dominated by an elite leadership.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393054750
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/1973
Series:
Essays in American History Ser.
Edition description:
1st ed.
Pages:
208

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