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John Adams as
Lesson 9.3 Continued
George Washington on Political Parties
• Washington did not like political parties, and believed they
would divide the nation
• He was however, partisan, and clearly favored Hamilton’s
• He tried to get Jefferson and Hamilton to work together, but
they were so divided that they both resigned from the cabinet
Presidential Election of 1796
• Both Federalists and Republicans held caucuses in which
members of Congress and other leaders nominated, or chose,
their parties’ candidates for office
• Federalist John Adams won the election and became the
second President of the United States
Presidential Election of 1796
• Under the rules of the Constitution at that time, the person
with the second-highest electoral vote total became vicepresident
• Republican Thomas Jefferson became vice-president, and so
different political parties were represented as president and
Presidential Election of 1796
John Adams
Federalist President
Thomas Jefferson
Democratic -Republican
The XYZ Affair
• The French viewed Jay’s Treaty as an American attempt to
help the British in their war with France
• To punish the United States, the French seized American ships
that carried cargo to Britain
The XYZ Affair
• President Adams sent a team to Paris to try to resolve the
dispute in the fall of 1797
• Instead of meeting with the Americans, the French sent three
agents, who demanded a bribe and a loan for France from the
Americans, but the Americans refused
The XYZ Affair
• Adams was furious and urged Congress to prepare for war
• In his report to Congress, Adams used the letters X, Y, and Z in
place of the French agents’ names, and the event came to be
called the XYZ affair
Alien and Sedition Acts
• After the XYZ affair, many grew angry at foreign attempts to
influence their government
• They became more suspicious of aliens – residents who are
not citizens
• Many Europeans who had come to the United States in the
1790s supported the ideals of the French Revolution
• Some Americans questioned whether these aliens would
remain loyal if the United States went to war with France
Alien and Sedition Acts
• In 1798 Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts
• Sedition means activities aimed at weakening the
• The Alien and Sedition Acts allowed the president to imprison
• The president could also deport – send out of the country –
those thought to be dangerous. President Adams was a
strong supporter of these laws
• Work in your groups to complete the Alien and Sedition Acts
Question 1
• Which acts dealt with citizenship? Which one dealt with
censorship of people?
• The Alien and Naturalization Acts dealt with citizenship.
Alien Acts
• Allowed the president to imprison aliens and to send those he
considered dangerous out of the country
Naturalization Act
• Required that aliens be residents for 14 years instead of 5
years before they became eligible for U.S. citizenship
Answer (Continued)
• The Sedition Act dealt with censorship
Question 2
• How were people censored by the acts?
• The Sedition Act made it a crime to speak, write, or publish
“false, scandalous, and malicious” criticisms of the
Question 3
• Why were the Alien and Sedition Acts passed?
• The Federalist-controlled Congress wanted to strengthen the
federal government and silence Republican opposition.
Question 4
• What were the results of the acts?
• The Alien and Sedition Acts discouraged immigration and led
some foreigners already in the country to leave, and convicted
10 Republican newspaper editors who had criticized the
Federalists in government.
Question 5
• What 2 reactions were formed because of the acts?
• Opposition to Federalist party grows
• Led to movement to allow states to overturn federal laws
Question 6
• Critical Thinking: Do you think the Alien and Sedition Acts
were set up purely to protect the country, or were there other
reasons behind it? Explain.
• It was a crime to speak, write, or publish “false, scandalous,
and malicious” criticisms of the government
• The acts were set up to silence Republican opposition
• 10 Republican newspaper editors who had criticized the
Federalists in government were convicted
Question 7
• Critical Thinking: Think back to what you have learned about
the Constitution. Are the Alien and Sedition Acts
Constitutional? Why or why not?
• No, these acts are not constitutional. They violate freedom of
speech and freedom of the press.
Domestic and Foreign Affairs
• Republicans saw the Alien and Sedition Acts as Federalist
tyranny, and looked to the states to respond and protect
people’s liberties
• Madison and Jefferson wrote statements of protest and
passed the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and
• These resolutions claimed that the Alien and Sedition Acts
violated the Constitution, and declared that the states should
not put them into action
• They further said that the states could nullify – legally
overturn – federal laws they thought were unconstitutional
Domestic and Foreign Affairs
• The resolutions supported the principle of states’ rights,
which held that the powers of the federal government were
limited to those clearly granted by the Constitution
• To prevent the federal government from becoming too
powerful, the states should have all other powers not
expressly forbidden to them.
Domestic and Foreign Affairs
• Federalists urged Adams to declare war on France, but instead
he worked out a treaty in 1800 in which the French agreed to
stop their attacks on American ships
Wrap Up
• Even though George Washington did not like political parties,
how was he partisan?
• What are caucuses? Who won the election of 1796?
• Explain the XYZ affair. Why is it called that?
• Why were the Alien and Sedition Acts formed? What
resolution overturned them?
• Explain the principle of states’ rights