On this day. 1797: President John Adams told Congress of the "XYZ Affair" — a dispute with France that nearly led to war with Napoleon. The letters X, Y, and Z derive from the names of French diplomats in documents released by the Adams administration. The "affair" began when a U.S. diplomatic delegation went to France in July 1797 to negotiate issues that were threatening to cause war. The diplomats, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry, were approached by agents of the French Foreign Minister Talleyrand demanding bribes and a loan before formal negotiations could begin. This was a common practice in those days, but the Americans were offended, and Pinckney and Marshall went home. But Gerry, seeking to avoid war, remained, and with Talleyrand, laid the groundwork for an eventual end to diplomatic and military hostilities.
On this day. 1868: The Senate fell one vote short of convicting President Andrew Johnson after he was earlier impeached by the House. Two later Senate votes also fell short. The House had previously voted to impeach on 11 counts of trying to fire War Secretary Stanton and for violating post-war Reconstruction Acts.
Quote of the day
"Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called 'walking.'" -George W. Bush
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' confused man-crush on Vladimir Putin
- Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The new bride who had a horrifying allergic reaction to her husband's sperm
- This energy source could solve all of our problems — so why is no one talking about it?
Subscribe to the Week