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Soc studies #20 john adams’ presidency

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The Presidency of John Adams

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Soc studies #20 john adams’ presidency

  1. 1. JOHN ADAMS’ PRESIDENCY
  2. 2. 1. Political parties – groups who help elect government officials and influence policies 2. Diplomat – an official representing their country in a country overseas 3. Bribe – to give money to persuade someone to do something 4. Alien – an immigrant living in a country where they are not a citizen 5. Sedition – acts that aim to weaken the government 6. Unconstitutional – not in agreement with the Constitution 7. States’ rights – rights independent of the federal government reserved for the states
  3. 3. • By the election of 1796, the American people had formed and divided into political parties • The prominent parties of the time were the Federalist Party, who wanted a strong central government and supported industry and trade, and the Democratic-Republican Party, who wanted to limit the federal government’s power • The Federalist candidates were John Adams and Thomas Pinckney • The Dem-Rep candidates were Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr
  4. 4. • John Adams won the election, and Thomas Jefferson became his Vice President • Adams had been a leading Patriot during the War for Independence, had served as a foreign minister and was Vice President under George Washington • Though not well-liked, he was well-respected
  5. 5. • Adams needed to improve the relationship between the U.S. and France, who had started to seize U.S. ships. • Adams sent diplomats to Paris to negotiate a treaty which would protect U.S. shipping • In France, these diplomats were met with three agents who told them that French foreign minister Charles de Talleyrand would only discuss a treaty in exchange for a bribe of over $250,000.
  6. 6. • The U.S. diplomats refused. • Because Adams referred to the French agents as “X, Y, and Z”, France’s demand for a bribe became known as the XYZ Affair
  7. 7. • The Federalists in Congress called for war with France • Thinking that a war was inevitable, Adams asked Congress to expand the navy, and keep a standing peacetime army • Still hoping to maintain peace, Adams tried to reopen talks with France • Eventually, the U.S. and France signed a treaty
  8. 8. • In 1798 Congress passed four laws known as the Alien and Sedition Acts • These laws aimed at protecting the gov’t from treasonous ideas and people • The Federalist-dominated Congress wanted the Acts to crush opposition to war
  9. 9. • The most controversial was the Sedition Act, which made it a crime to speak, write, or publish criticism of the government • This challenged freedom of speech and freedom of the press • Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Dem-Rep Party saw these Acts as a misuse of gov’t power
  10. 10. • Jefferson and Madison passed resolutions called the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which argued that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional. • They wanted Congress to repeal the Acts; instead, Congress allowed them to expire in 1801 • The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions affirmed the principle of states’ rights, and supported the idea that the states could challenge the federal government

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