These are the flags of The United States and France. This image represents their alliance.
France has always been out nation's closest ally. They helped us win the American Revolution. In 1793, when George Washington issued the Neutrality Proclomation, France questioned how close their relationship really was with our two countries. The French felt betrayed when they found out about Jay's Treaty. America had made a deal with Grea Britain, their enemy. Soon after they heard the news of Jay's Treaty, France discovered that America had signed another treaty, this time with Spain.
Pickney's Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Friendship, gave the United States the right to use the Mississippi River, which was already claimed by Spain. It also gave them the power so store shipped goods in the Spanish city of New Orleans before the goods went on to foreign ports. This treaty was more about Spain's fear of being left out of world events, and America's growing power and influence than it was about Spain gaining anything from the Americans. Spain wanted to make sure that their territory in North America remained their own, like the port of New Orleans. They also wanted to ensure that America stayed on their good side, especially since America had many powerful alllies and trading partners.
France was very upset, and they began the impressment of our sailors. After a while, American sailors weren't safe in the Altlantic Ocean. France and Great Britain were kidnapping our sailors and forcing them into their own countrie's navies. American merchants were very upset and confused as to why their boats and hired sailors weren't returning. Americans wanted a war with France, and many were still upset about Jay's Treaty.
In his Speech to Congress, Adams pledged "justice, peace" and that the "Constitution be upheld". The actions of France were not acceptable. But Adams wanted to continue to work for peace. He thought that a war for their country would be terrible. To help fix the alliance, Adamssent three American diplomats, Elbridge Gerry, John Marshall, and Thomas Pinckney, to France to work things out. They were sent to see Foreign Minister Talleyrand. They were trying to either get the French to understand and move on from the Jay's Treaty or create an entirely new Treaty with France.
When the Americans arrive in France, however, the French government refused to talk to them. Instead, three representatives from Talleyrand, who we only know as X, Y, and Z, attempted to bribe the American diplomats on three different occasions during the month of October. The conditions were ones that the Americans could never agree with, like a $250,000 fee just to meet with Talleyrand, and even then, it still wasn't guaranteed that they would get their Treaty. They demanded that the United States loan France $10 million. But, the American diplomats refused.
The American diplomats stayed in France throughout the winter, still trying to get a meeting with Talleyrand. But they still refused to pay a bribe. The French representatives even threatened the American diplomats with a war between France and the United States.
Eventually, the Americans returned home, without a Treaty. President Adams said "I will never send another minister to France without assurances that he will be received, respected, and honored, as the representative of a great, free, powerful, and independent nation." Word of the XYZ Affair spread throughout the country, and the Americans became furious, which led to more people beginning to distrust the French. Our government prepared the possibility of war with France, building and arming ships of war. This was the birth of the United States Navy.
Even though we never officially went to war over the XYZ Affair, a quasi-war was fought in the Caribbean.