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The Papers of George Washington
January-May 1793
George Washington. Edited by Philander D. Chase
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In the period covered by volume 12, mid-January through May 1793, Washington completed his first term as president and began his second term with a modest inauguration ceremony. Washington continued his efforts to keep the United States out of the expanding European war between France and a coalition that now included Great Britain. The behavior of Edmond Genet, the new French minister to the United States, and the presence of French privateers in American waters intensified disagreement among Americans over U.S. foreign policy, especially American obligations under its treaties with France. After extensive consultation with the cabinet, Washington issued a neutrality proclamation in April, but this did little to quell the debate. While the administration made arrangements for a forthcoming peace treaty at Lower Sandusky with the Indians of the Northwest Territory, the U.S. Army under General Anthony Wayne prepared for an Indian war. In addition, Washington monitored the development of the Federal District. He intervened in a dispute between the commissioners for the District of Columbia and their chief surveyor, Andrew Ellicott, and approved the architectural plans for the U.S. Capitol. As always, the president tended to his private financial affairs and the management of his farms at Mount Vernon, a task made more difficult by the death of his nephew and estate manager, George Augustine Washington.

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