Adams and jefferson the adams presidency



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UNIT 2 LECTURE NOTES


  1. ADAMS AND JEFFERSON




  1. THE ADAMS PRESIDENCY

      1. 1796 ELECTION

  • In 1796 American experiences their first contested presidential election

  • The Federalists chose John Adams, conservative from Mass who had served as VP

  • Democratic Republicans nominated Thomas Jefferson

  • In line with custom, neither candidate campaigned in person

  • Alexander Hamilton lobbies Federalists to support Thomas Pinckney because he knew he could not manipulate the morally upright John Adams

  • Adams wins the election and Jefferson is his VP




      1. XYZ AFFAIR

  • France regarded Jay’s Treaty as an American-British Alliance

  • They broke off diplomatic relations in 1797 and refused to discuss with U.S. until it addressed French grievances

  • They soon began an increased effort in seizing American ships trading with Britain

  • French ordered that anything on American ships made in Britain would be seized without compensation

  • Adams wanted to protect American commerce from French bullying but also knew that they would not survive a war with France

  • He also knew French concerns (Jay’s Treaty) were legitimate

  • When they reach Paris, they are left waiting to see the Directory (revolutionary committee of 5 that had replaced the king) and the foreign minster

  • Three officials, only named in the correspondence as X, Y, Z discreetly hinted that France would receive them if they paid a bribe of $250,000 and a $12 million loan to France

  • The delegates refused, returned home

  • News spread and government/public became out rages

  • Journalists conjured up the line “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute”

  • President Adams asked Congress to prepare for war, French responded by seizing more American ships

  • In April 1798 an undeclared naval war began between France and the united States in the Caribbean that lasted for a year




      1. ALIEN AND SEDITION ACTS

  • The XZY affair created a surge of anti-French hostility in America

  • This included hostilities towards Democratic Republicans who supported the French revolution

  • Many Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, wanted to use the crisis to destroy Republican opposition

  • The federalist dominated Congress soon passes several “wartime” measures

  • They were passed without Adams consent

  • Alien and Sedition Acts

    • Series of 4 laws

    • First 3 directed at immigrants

    • Extended naturalization period from 5 to 14 years

    • Empowered the president to detain enemy aliens during war

    • Empowered president to deport aliens he deemed dangerous to U.S.

    • Fourth Act – the Sedition Act gained the most opposition

    • It set jail terms and fines for persons who advocate disobedience to federal law or who printed/spoke false statements about the government with intent to defame

  • President never used the powers granted under the Alien Acts, but the Sedition Act resulted in the prosecution of 14 republicans, most who were journalists

  • Republicans charged that the Acts violated the first amendment appealed to states for help

  • Jefferson and James Madison proposed the Virginia and Kentucky resolves

    • Reminded Congress of 10th Amendment which gives powers not mentioned in Constitution to the States

    • Constitution was a “compact” between sovereign states and states could nullify federal laws they deemed unconstitutional

    • The resolves actually had little effect and was mostly limited to the south




      1. PROBLEMS WITH HAMILTON

  • Congress also took steps to create a military that would be prepared for war

  • Adams wanted a stronger navy, to fight France and because he believed that American’s future as a commercial nation required a respectable navy

  • Hamilton led a portion of federalists who instead wanted to focus on the standing army

  • Against his own opinion, but at the urging of Washington, Adams had appointed Hamilton as inspector general, which made him de facto commander of the U.S. army

  • When Hamilton expanded the Officer corps he excluded republicans and commissioned only his friends

  • Hamilton’s’ followers wanted a larger standing army to enforce the Alien and Sedition Acts

  • President Adams and other Federalists became convinced that Hamilton were determined to destroy political opponents by force, enter into an alliance with Britain, and impose Hamilton’s designs by force

  • Adams is fearful and angry at Hamilton and federalists followers

    • Had tried to rob him of presidency

    • Passed Alien and Sedition without his consent

    • Plans for a larger standing army w/o his consent

    • All of this happened due to the war with France

  • Adams began looking for ways to declare peace

    • In a move he knew would split his party and probably cost him the election of 1800, Adams opens negotiations with France and stalls Hamilton’s army

    • In another meeting with France peace was organized and agreed to




      1. VIRGINIA AND KENTUCKY RESOLUTIONS

          • Republicans charged that the Acts violated the first amendment appealed to states for help

            • But the Constitution did not outline who had the authority to judge whether acts of Congress violated the Constitution

            • Madison and Jefferson believed the states should make that judgment

          • Jefferson and James Madison proposed the Virginia and Kentucky resolves

            • Reminded Congress of 10th Amendment which gives powers not mentioned in Constitution to the States

            • Constitution was a “compact” between sovereign states and states could nullify federal laws they deemed unconstitutional

            • The resolves actually had little effect and neither state acted upon the resolutions

      1. THE ELECTION OF 1800

  • The election of 1800 would be unique

    • It would be a rematch from four years earlier

    • John Adams vs Thomas Jefferson

    • President vs Vice President

    • It was also another contest between Federalist who supported a strong central government and Republicans who supported state authority

  • Democratic Republicans and Thomas Jefferson approached the election of 1800 more organized and determined than in 1796

  • Republican Campaign:

    • Actions of federalists were expensive, unwise, unconstitutional

    • Federalists used crisis with France to increase their power and overthrow the American republic

  • Federalists:

    • Jefferson and radical allies would release the worst horrors of the French Revolution upon America

  • End side believes their defeat spells the end of the republic

  • Jefferson Wins

    • When the electoral votes were counted, Jefferson and his running mate and ally, Aaron Burr had tied with 73 electoral votes

    • Adams came in third with 65 votes

    • Federalists Congress would have to decide the election between two Republicans

    • Jefferson wins






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