The French Revolution occurred between 1789 – 1799.
- The French Revolutionary Wars occurred between 1792 – 1802, overlapping the French Revolution; and Revolutionary France fought two coalitions of European powers.
- First coalition (organized in 1792) was comprised of Austria, Prussia, Sardinia, Britain, Spain and the Netherlands.
- Second coalition (organized 1798) included Britain, Russia, Austria, Naples, Portugal and Turkey.
- Despite the opposition, Napoleon Bonaparte emerged as a military and political leader. From 1799 – 1804, he set himself up as a dictator; and in 1804, proclaimed himself emperor of France.
George Washington was serving as the first president of the United States from 1789 – 1797. Washington maintained a neutral stance on the French Revolutionary Wars, not deeming them a national priority requiring U.S. involvement.
Thomas Jefferson opposed this stance and favored strong federal involvement in foreign affairs. It is likely Jefferson had more insight because he served as a minister to France during Washington's presidential term. Perhaps the first POTUS should have deferred to his judgment.
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