Genêt, Edmond Charles Édouard (1763–1834), a French diplomat who became a controversial figure in United States politics. Genêt was appointed minister to the United States in 1792 by the French revolutionary government. When he arrived in April, 1793, France was at war with Great Britain, Spain, Austria, and Prussia. The United States maintained strict neutrality. The Federalists were anti-French, but Thomas Jefferson and his party, the Republicans, greeted Genêt warmly.
Taking advantage of public sympathy for France, Genêt commissioned privateers to prey on British commerce. He planned to hire frontiersmen to wrest Canada from Britain and to take Louisiana and Florida from Spain. Genêt finally discredited himself and his supporters by appealing to the people to disregard President Washington's neutrality proclamation. Washington demanded his recall in August, 1793. In the meantime Genêt's party, the Girondists, had lost power in France, and he was ordered to return for trial. Genêt was permitted to stay in the United States. He bought a farm and married the daughter of George Clinton, governor of New York. He later became a citizen.