Date of Award

Fall 2010

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Eliga H Gould


On 19 August 1795 George Washington ambushed Secretary of State Edmund Randolph in an impromptu tribunal to face the allegation of treasonous corruption in the service of France with evidence covertly provided by Great Britain.

A synthesis of the biographies of Washington and Randolph, histories of Jay's Treaty, the Whiskey Rebellion, the Battle of Fallen Timbers, and the diplomatic correspondence between Great Britain and the United States during the early republic reveals the motivations behind a British plot to manipulate the composition of the United States' government by implicating Randolph. The study dispels the myth that the intercepted French diplomatic correspondence was forwarded by the British government to Washington's administration to compel the ratification of Jay's Treaty, and for the first time places Randolph's forced resignation in the context of an eighteenth-century affair of honor between President George Washington and the Secretary of State.