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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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conflict with france
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.
  • The Americans sent diplomats to Paris, and they met with three French agents who demanded the U.S. give France a $10 Million loan.
  • The diplomats told Adams about this event, and Adams reported it to Congress. It is known today as the XYZ Affair.
  • The XYZ Affair ignited war fever in the U.S. Adams did not let the U.S. be pushed into war, he instead strengthened the navy by building frigates.
the federalist party splits
The Federalist Party Splits
  • 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.
alien and sedition acts
Alien and Sedition Acts
  • In 1798 during the crisis with France the Federalists pushed several laws through Congress that became known as the Alien and Sedition Acts.
  • Under the Alien Act, the President could expel any foreigner thought to be dangerous to the country.
  • Sedition means stirring up rebellion against a government. Under this law, citizens could be fined or jailed if they criticized the government or its officials.
the rights of states
The Rights of States
  • 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).
election of 1800
Election of 1800
  • 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.

The election of 1800 was significant for 2 key reasons:

    • It fixed a flaw in the election system (we need to vote for President and Vice-President on the same ticket, not separately)
    • It was the first peaceful exchange of power from one party to another in the history of the World.
the federalist era ends
The Federalist Era Ends
  • 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.