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XYZ affair

The XYZ affair is the name given to an incident in 1797-1798, having to do with diplomatic relations between France and the United States.

When John Adams became President in March of 1797, the French had seized nearly 300 American ships bound for British ports. The French had ordered this retaliatory measure in response to the Jay Treaty, which the French considered as evidence of an Anglo-American alliance. Relations between France and the U.S. worsened when the Duc de Talleyrand, the French foreign minister, rejected the Federalist Charles C. Pinckney as America's minister to France. The French continued to seize American ships, and some Federalists demanded war. President Adams, however, was determined to avoid war. He sent a special commission, comprised of Charles C. Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry, to France to try to resolve the problems between the two nations.

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