John Adams, following George Washington, became the second president of America in 1797. He was somewhat of a middle thinker in his politics. He never completely sided with the Federalists or the Republicans. A move that made him susceptible to criticism from both sides. There was a lot of pressure on Adams after succeeding a loved man in George Washington. He also inherited the effects of Jay’s Treaty which George Washington signed during his presidency. The effects of this Treaty was an unproclaimed naval war with France (America 314-315). Adams, in inheriting a “naval war” with France, fueled his opposition at home along with one grave mistake.
When Adams became president, France had already retaliated against Jay’s Treaty. They plundered three hundred American ships capturing the precious goods inside. Adams wanted to restore America’s relationship with France right away, mostly, because the capturing of American ships was costly. Adams sent a committee of men to negotiate with France which outraged the most conservative of Federalists. The French captured this committee and held them until a bribe was paid out for them. This is known as the XYZ affair. The bribe, however, would not be paid. America, outraged by France, wanted war which even some Republicans could not argue with. Adams did not give in to these shouts and would not proclaim war with France. Congress did what they could to punish France, and Adams strengthened American defenses. He even enlisted George Washington to lead the army. France finally started to talk of peace, but nothing became effective until 1801 (America 315-317)
Thomas Jefferson, Adams’ vice president, worked ardently against Adams. He fiercely opposed Adams in almost everything he did(America 317-318). Jefferson even had a journalist produce a pamphlet that depicted Adams as “a deranged monarchist intent upon naming himself king” (America 318). Resentment from the Republicans erupted, and the...