View your list of saved words. (You can log in using Facebook.)
(1797–98) Diplomatic incident between the U.S. and France. Pres. John Adams sent special envoys Elbridge Gerry and John Marshall to France to help Charles C. Pinckney negotiate an agreement to protect U.S. shipping from French privateers. Before the three could meet with Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, they were approached by three of his agentscalled X, Y, and Z in diplomatic correspondence to Adamswho suggested a bribe of $250,000 to Talleyrand and a loan of $10 million to France as preconditions for negotiations. Adams rejected the French demands and reported the mission had failed. When he was forced to reveal the correspondence, public outrage was followed by calls for war with France. The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed to restrict potential French sympathizers. The Convention of 1800 ended a period of undeclared naval warfare between the U.S. and France.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on XYZ Affair, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up XYZ Affair? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.