A Satirical Look at The XYZ Affair | BRIdge from the Past: Art Across U.S. History
In this episode, Mary and Kirk analyze the British satirical cartoon “Property protected à la Françoise” (1798).
The image pokes fun at Franco-American relations in the wake of the XYZ Affair, a diplomatic incident that
occurred during John Adam’s presidency. As a prerequisite to trade negotiations, French officials solicited
bribes from U.S. diplomats, which soon sparked controversy in America. The cartoon depicts five Frenchmen
plundering a personified America while other European countries watch from a distance. From the visual clues
provided, what political argument do you think this cartoon is making?