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Unit 11 Sections 6 - 8
VII The Presidency of John Adams
A) Election of 1796
1) framers thought the Electoral College would simply choose the two best leaders for president and
vice president
2) worked this way in the first two elections
3) not this time
4) 1796 = VP Adams won presidency by THREE votes against DR Thomas Jefferson
5) Adams: supported by federalists lawyers, merchants, ship owners, and business ppl in the North
6) Jefferson: supported by farmers in the South and West
7) two separate parties must work together
B) The Alien and Sedition Acts
1) Adams tried to work with Jefferson
2) party violence made this almost impossible
3) Federalists in Congress passed four controversial laws known as the Alien and Sedition Acts.
aa) argued = these laws were needed as protection against foreigners who might threaten the nation
bb) real purpose = to make life difficult for the Federalists’ rivals
cc) Three of the laws = the Alien Acts = were aimed at aliens, or noncitizens
(1) lengthened the time it took for an immigrant to become a citizen w/the right to vote
(aaa) went from 5 to 14 yrs
(bbb) Jefferson saw this as an attack b/c most immigrants were Dem-Reps.
(2) allowed the president to jail aliens suspected of activities that threatened govt.
(3) allowed the president to deport aliens suspected of activities that threatened govt.
(aaa) laws were never enforced
(bbb) did frighten a number of French spies and troublemakers
(ccc) they left the country
(4) Sedition Act: made sedition (the crime of encouraging rebellion agst the govt) a crime
(aaa) sedition = “printing, uttering, or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious
(hateful) writing” against the government, Congress, or the president
(bbb) Alexander Hamilton = approved of this b/c it would punish only those who
published lies intended to destroy the govt.
(ccc) however: Sedition Act = used to punish Democratic-Republican newspaper
editors who insulted President Adams in print
(ddd) example: called Adams = “old, querulous [whiny], bald, blind, crippled,
toothless Adams”
(1) 25 ppl were arrested under the new law
(2) 10 convicted of printing seditious opinions
C) The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
1) Dem-Reps = viewed the Sedition Act as an attack on the rights of free speech and free press
2) federal govt enforced it
1st Amdmt
10th Amdmt
3) DRs looked to the states to protect these freedoms
4) Thomas Jefferson and James Madison = drew up a set of resolutions (statements of a formal decisions
agreed on by a group) opposing the Alien and Sedition Acts
5) sent them to state legislatures for approval
6) argued that Congress had gone beyond the Constitution in passing these acts
7) states had a duty to nullify (verb: to refuse to recognize a federal law. This action by a state is called
nullification: noun) the laws = declare them to be without legal force
8) only two states adopted this: Virginia & Kentucky
9) VA & KY Resolutions: states’ rights = this has nothing to do w/fed. Govt (Amdmt 10)
10) protest died out = but not forgotten
11) would be raised and tested again in the years ahead
D) The New National Capital
1) 1800 = federal govt moved from “The President’s House” in Philadelphia to the city of
Washington in the District of Columbia
2) most govt buildings were still in progress
3) new “White House” was still not finished
4) Abigail Adams was amazed at how big it was – although unfinished
5) used the large East Room for hanging laundry to dry
6) although short stay: Adams and Abigail were the first to live there
VIII The Election of 1800
A) Sides of the Election
1) Federalists: nominated John Adams for P and Charles Pinckney of SC as VP
aa) some Federalists = preferred Alexander Hamilton as their presidential candidate
bb) Caribbean-born = not eligible to run = not natural-born citizen
2) Dem-Reps: nominated Thomas Jefferson for P and Aaron Burr of NY as VP
B) The Campaign
1) candidates outlined their campaign issues early
2) Jefferson supported the Constitution and states’ rights
aa) promised to run a “frugal and simple” government
bb) Dem-Rep newspapers attacked Adams as a tyrant
cc) accused him of wanting to turn the nation into a monarchy so that his children could follow
him on the presidential throne
3) Adams ran on his record of peace and prosperity
aa) Federalist newspapers called Jefferson an atheist (someone who denies the existence of God)
bb) said Jefferson would “destroy religion, introduce immorality, and loosen all the bonds of
cc) some elderly Federalists were so frightened that they buried their Bibles for safe-keeping
4) campaign = centered more on insults than on issues
5) Needless to say, this was the end of a long time friendship that wouldn’t be repaired until the 1820s
before both men died.
C) The Divided Federalists
1) Hamilton and his supporters: refused to support Adams because of disagreements over the
president’s foreign policy
2) Hamilton worked behind the scenes = to convince the men chosen for the Electoral College to cast
their presidential ballots for Pinckney over Adams
3) felt he could manipulate Pinckney so he could personally guide the US his way
4) Pinckney seemed more likely to value Hamilton’s advice and his firm Federalist principles
5) Adams did not like Hamilton
6) felt Washington had put too much faith in Hamilton
IX A Deadlock and a New Amendment
A) Electoral College
1) clear that John Adams had lost the election
2) Constitution says: each elector cast two votes
aa) idea that the candidate finishing second would be vice president
3) ALL D/Rs electors voted for Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr
4) result = a tie between them
B) Breaking the Tie
1) Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution
aa) if two candidates each received a majority of the electoral votes but are tied = House of
Representatives to determine which one would be President
bb) each state has one vote
2) decision rested on Federalist-controlled House of Representatives
3) 35 ballots cast over 6 days
4) neither candidate received a majority
5) Burr
aa) could have told his supporters in the House to elect Jefferson president
bb) this is what the DR party wanted
cc) BUT: he didn’t and remained silent bc HE wanted to be president
6) Alexander Hamilton = hated Burr
aa) advised Federalists in Congress that Jefferson was the safer choice
7) 36 ballot = Jefferson won
C) The 12th Amendment
1) 1804
2) 12th Amendment added to the Constitution
3) to prevent such ties
4) amendment calls for the Electoral College to
cast separate ballots for president and vice
5) If no presidential candidate receives a majority
of electoral votes = the House of Reps chooses
a president from the top three candidates
6) If no candidate for vice president receives a
majority = the Senate chooses the VP
C) Peace instead of a Revolution
1) election of 1800 = victory for Jefferson and Dem-Republican Party
2) also a victory for the new system of government established by the Constitution
3) in other countries = power changed hands by war or revolution
4) in the United States = power passed from one group to another without a single shot being fired
X Summary
In this chapter, you read about the beginnings of political parties in the United States.
The New Government Under Washington George Washington took office as president in 1789. In 1794, he ended
the Whiskey Rebellion, a farmers’ protest against taxes.
Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists Hamilton and the Federalists favored a strong national government. They
supported a loose construction of the Constitution. They also favored using the government’s power to support
business, manufacturing, and trade. Alarmed by the violence of the French Revolution, the Federalists favored Great
Britain in its war with France.
Thomas Jefferson and the Republicans Jefferson and the Republicans championed states’ rights and an economy
based on agriculture. They supported a strict construction of the Constitution. Republicans saw the French
Revolution as a step toward democracy and attacked the Federalists’ support for Great Britain.
The Presidency of John Adams During Adams’s presidency, Federalists used the Alien and Sedition Acts to attack
Republicans. In response, Republicans urged states to nullify these laws.
The Election of 1800 and the Twelfth Amendment Adams lost the election of 1800 to Thomas Jefferson after the
Federalists broke a tie vote between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. In 1804, the Twelfth Amendment was added to the
Constitution to prevent such ties.