The Presidency of
Chapter 8 Section 4
Troubles with France
did not like the fact that America had
decided to have a treaty with Britain. They
thought that showed partiality. To them,
America was not being neutral the way that
Washington had said they would be.
continued to take ships, and then
snubbed the new U.S. diplomat, Charles
Adams sent Elbridge Gerry
and John Marshall to join
Charles Pinckney in October
1797 to negotiate a new
treaty with France.
France’s Prime Minister Talleyrand sent three diplomats to meet them, but
they would not negotiate until these terms were met:
pay a bribe(tribute) of $250,000 to Talleyrand himself
provide a $10 million low-interest loan to France
*When the American negotiators gave their reports, they called the
Frenchmen by the names X, Y, and Z.
XYZ Affair (continued)
The American negotiators refused the bribe, and talks failed.
Jefferson, who was partial to the French, thought perhaps
Adams was just spinning this story in some way to make the
French look bad. He insisted that Adams make public the
messages that were sent from the U.S. diplomats.
Little did Jefferson know, but now people would be really
mad at France. Many said, “Millions for defense, but not a
sixpence for tribute.”
Adams took advantage of the negative publicity
for the French. With Federalists calling for war,
Adams convinced Congress to instead beef up
the navy with more frigates and increase the size
of the army. He made his own party mad at him.
Adams successfully avoided all-out war. The U.S.
and France fought only a quasi-war at sea
between 1798 and 1800.
When Napoleon came to power in France in
1800, he had enough going on with England; he
agreed to stop seizing American ships.
Federalists had begun to fear that
new immigrants might side with
Federalists in Congress created
laws called the Alien Acts in 1798
Aliens must be here 14 years
(no longer only five) to become
The President has the power to
deport or imprison any alien that
he thinks is dangerous.
Republicans strongly criticized the
Federalists in government
The Federalists in Congress
pushed through a law making it
illegal to insult the President, any
other government official, or the
government in general.
Within a year, at least 10 people
A political cartoon is just one of many
ways that people exercise free speech
to criticize the government today.
Which Amendment went against the Sedition Act?
Republican Reaction to Alien and
James Madison and Thomas
Jefferson anonymously helped
Virginia and Kentucky
legislatures write resolutions
saying the A & S Acts were
Jefferson wrote the resolution for KY.
Although the A & S Acts had
expiration dates and died out
soon, Virginia and Kentucky
Resolutions opened the door
for future debates about
nullification of federal laws by
Madison wrote the resolution for VA.