This was one of the most important and controversial treaties of US history, its consequences partly allowed for western expansion and the development of 2 political parties. During the 1790s, tensions with the British were escalating over their continued occupation of forts American Northwest, British confiscation of US merchant ships and impressment of US sailors. In the treaty, Britain agreed to abandon its Northwestern posts within 2 years and compensate American ship owners for confiscated vessels. The US agreed to guarantee payment of private debts owed by the US to British merchants and bankers, limits its trade with the British West Indies, and grant most favored nation trading status to Britain - but without guaranteeing US conception of neutral rights. Negotiated by John Jay (though the policy was primarily written by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and supported by President Washington), it was met by huge backlash in the US. Jay was accused of selling out to the British and sacrificing US commercial interests. The Treaty and controversy were critical to the formation of US global power in two ways: first, it was a critical catalyst to US western expansion (British abandonment of forts removed a major obstacle to US expansion and it further eroded indian sovereignty) and second, the uproar in the wake of the treaty led to the emergence of two political parties. The Federalists, led by Hamilton, largely supported the Treaty while the Republicans, led by Jefferson, opposed it, fearing closer economic ties to the aristocratic and monarchial Britain would strengthen the Federalist Party and undercut republicanism. In reality, the treaty was not as disastrous as some thought, America was a fledgling economic and military power and its recent defeat of Britain was due to French aid and British withdrawal, not American power. The treaty successfully averting war with Great Britain and led to ten years of peaceful trading between the US and Britain. This international treaty also helped to reshape domestic, internal politics, demonstrating the strong cross over of foreign relations and domestic policy in early America. The French responded to this treaty by seizing US ships in what became the Quasi War.