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Yeas and Nays

"Yeas and Nays on the motion of Mr. Burr on the nomination of Mr. Jay," April 19, 1794

National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the U.S. Senate

In 1793 war between France and Great Britain threatened to involve the United States. In an effort to avoid war, President Washington appointed Chief Justice John Jay to negotiate a treaty with Britain. Jay and the Federalists were pro-British; Democratic-Republicans were sympathetic to France. When Jay’s appointment came for approval, Democratic-Republican senators, led by Senator Aaron Burr of New York, opposed the nomination arguing that a special envoy was unnecessary and that Jay could not be appointed without first resigning from the Supreme Court. The vote tally on Burr’s motion to postpone consideration of Jay’s nomination, shown here, failed by a vote of 17 to 10.

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