The Second President . Conflict with France. No sooner had Adams taken office then he faced a crisis with France. The French objected to Jay’s Treaty because they felt that it favored Britain.
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Led by Hamilton, many Federalists criticized Adams, this disagreement split the Federalists.
Adams sent diplomats to France and when they arrived they found an ambitious young army officer, Napoleon Bonaparte in charge. Napoleon was planning for war against several European powers. Thus, he had no time for a war with the United States. He signed an agreement to keep France and the U.S. from war.
VP Jefferson bitterly opposed the Alien and Sedition Acts. With help from Jefferson and Madison, Kentucky and Virginia passed resolutions that claimed each state has an equal right to judge for itself whether a law is constitutional (this is known as nullification).
As the election neared, Republicans focused on two issues, they attacked the Federalists for raising taxes to prepare for war and they opposed the unpopular Alien and Sedition Acts.
In the race for the presidency, Democratic-Republicans won the popular vote, but Jefferson and Burr tied in the electoral college. Under the Constitution it was up to the House of Representatives to decide.
Hamilton had a lot of power in the House, and he hated Burr, so he shifted his support behind Jefferson.
After 1800, the Federalist party slowly declined. Federalists won fewer seats in Congress. In 1804, the party was greatly weakened after its leader, Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr.