John Adams Years in office: 1797-1801 Party: Federalist Elected from: Massachusetts VP: Thomas Jefferson
Foreign Policy XYZ Affair In 1797, feeling that the Americans were favoring Britain with Jay’s Treaty, the French began capturing American ships. Talk of war soon came up, so Adams sent delegates to speak with the French. The French foreign minister sent three agents to speak for him. Before talks began, the agents said he wanted $250K for himself and a $10 million loan for France. When Adams heard about this insult, he told Congress, referring to the agents as X, Y and Z. This angered many Americans when they heard about it, but Adams refused to go to war over it. Like Washington, he wanted to stay out of European affairs. Frigates: fast sailing ships with many guns
XYZ Affair • American Response to the XYZ Affair • “Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute” • The XYZ Affair angered many Americans when they heard about it, but Adams refused to go to war over it. Like Washington, he wanted to stay out of European affairs. • Tribute: bribe
Social & Domestic Alien and Sedition Acts The Alien Act said that the President could kick out any alien, or foreign person, that was considered to be dangerous. An additional law also made it more difficult for people to become citizens. The Sedition Act stated that people could be fined or jailed for criticizing the government or government officials. Sedition means stirring up a rebellion against the government. The Alien and Sedition Acts would lead to the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions.
Government & Politics Kentucky (KY) and Virginia (VA) Resolutions Many people said that the Alien and Sedition Acts were a violation of people’s rights including Jefferson. Kentucky and Virginia created resolutions saying that each individual state “has an equal right to judge for itself” if a law is unconstitutional. If a state determines that a law is unconstitutional, it can nullify, or cancel, the operation of that law within the state’s borders. Federalist Party Split After a difference of ideas, Alexander Hamilton and a number of other Federalists split away from the political party.
States’ Rights • Do states have the right to declare a federal law unconstitutional? • If so, how would this affect the balance of power between the federal and state government? Who would have all the power in the government? • What have we learned about federalism from our 7 principles of the U.S. Constitution?
Important Events Election of 1800 In the election of 1800, the Republican candidates were Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, the Federalist was John Adams. There were not separate ballots for President and Vice President though. When all of the electoral votes were counted, it was a tie between Jefferson and Burr. In case of a tie, the decision goes to the House of Representatives. After four days, the House chose Jefferson as President and Burr as Vice President. This incident lead to the passage of the 12th Amendment, which says that the electors must vote for the President and Vice President separately. Since then, power has transferred peacefully during each election. The Federalist party began to fade away, and lost much of its power after its leader, Alexander Hamilton, was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr.