During Adams’s tenure, tensions with FRANCE ran high.
FRENCH ships harassed American ships in the
CARIBBEAN. The FRENCH also had tried to influence the
election of 1796 in favor of THOMAS JEFFERSON.
When the two nations met to settle their
differences, FRENCH agents offered a peace treaty for a
price. The bribery attempt became known as the XYZ
AFFAIR. Americans refused to pay, and relations between
the two nations worsened.
The UNTIED STATES and FRANCE eventually agreed on
terms of peace. Many Americans, however, OPPOSED
making peace with FRANCE. The treaty even cost ADAMS
the support of his own party.
In 1798, the Federalist-controlled Congress passed a series of laws
aimed at stopping the growth of the DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
PARTY. Together, they were known as the ALIEN AND SEDITION
Among other things, the acts made it harder for IMMIGRANTS to
become citizens. Many IMMIGRANTS supported the DEMOCRATIC-
REPUBLICANS. The acts also made it a crime to speak out AGAINST
Critics called the acts a violation of the BILL OF RIGHTS and the
liberties of Americans.
The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 claimed that the ALIEN
AND SEDITION ACTS could not be put into action because they
violated the Constitution.
The resolutions argued that states had the right to nullify laws they
deemed unconstitutional. This belief is known as STATES’ RIGHTS.
JOHN ADAMS ran for reelection in 1800. His main
opponent again was THOMAS JEFFERSON.
The election ended with THOMAS JEFFERSON and
AARON BURR receiving the same number of electoral
votes. As a result, the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
decided the winner. JEFFERSON was elected
Despite losing power, the FEDERALISTS had served
the nation. They made the government work and gave
it a solid financial base. They also won respect from
other nations of the world.
Another FEDERALIST legacy was the new capital
city, WASHINGTON, D.C. Located between
MARYLAND and VIRGINIA, the new city was named
after GEORGE WASHINGTON.