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How Was the Threat of War with France during John Adams’ Presidency Used by the Federalist party to Attack the Republicans?

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A. Plan of the Investigation
This study investigates how was the threat of war with France during John Adams’ presidency used by the Federalist party to attack the Republicans? It will look at the “Quasi-War’s” effects on the political attitudes of the time as well as legislation passed by John Adams and Congress. Specifically, the XYZ affair will be discussed as an example of the tense relations between the countries and a catalyst for the Federalist support used to gain an upper hand over the Republicans, and the Alien and Sedition Acts will be examined as an example of Federalist legislation passed against the Republicans. In addition, the reactions to the events of John Adam’s presidency and the Quasi-War will be examined. To do this, excerpts from secondary sources discussing John Adams’ entire life, as well as more focused secondary sources that examine the Alien and Sedition acts or the XYZ affair on their own will be used. Additionally, the viewpoints of Adams will be expressed primary quotes from Adams.
B. Summary of Evidence
In the late 1700s, France’s Alliance with the United States began to deteriorate due to the American passage of Jay’s Treaty with the British. In response to this they withdrew their foreign minister while refusing to accept that of the United States. In addition, they attacked American ships and stole their goods (Miller 4). This was the beginning of a period of tension that became known as the “Franco-American War”. However, war was never formally declared between the two countries (Allen 61). Over the course of this struggle, though, Adams encountered many difficulties, mainly stemming from the politics around him. In the 1790s, the French were well-liked in America, with the memory of their h...


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..."Political Consequences of the XYZ Papers." The Presidency of John Adams; the Collapse of Federalism, 1795-1800. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1957. 299-300. Print.
McCullough, David G. "Old Oak." John Adams. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. 506. Print.
Miller, John Chester. "Chapter 1." Crisis in Freedom: The Alien and Sedition Acts. Boston: Little, Brown, 1951. 4. Print.
Moore, Wayne D. "Reconceiving Interpretive Autonomy: Insights from the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions." Constitutional Commentary Fall 1994: 315-354. Student Resources in Context. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
Stinchcombe, William C. The XYZ Affair. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1980. 3+. Print.
Taylor, Alan. "John Adams; 1797-1801." The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency. Ed. Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. General OneFile. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.


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