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Premier John Jay: The Most Important Man in America

Kaminski, John P.

When John Jay returned from France in 1784, the Confederation Congress asked him to become Secretary for Foreign Affairs. After negotiating favorable terms for the department of foreign affairs and getting Congress to move the seat of government to New York City, Jay accepted the position. For the next five years Jay served as the de facto prime minister of the United States. His 500 reports to Congress on all diplomatic matters and many domestic concerns provided much needed guidance for Congress. He, in fact, was the glue that held the loose alliance of states together during the difficult postwar depression years. Many of his policies were adopted by his successor, Thomas Jefferson, who served as America's first secretary of state in the Washington administration.

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July 16, 2010


Presented at Columbia University, March 25, 2010.

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