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Adams DBQ Info

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GoPunchRocks's picture
Joined: Oct 2005
Adams DBQ Info

My class has an upcomming DBQ so Im making this post to help everyone about a bit. Ill know the question on Monday so it will get more specific monday night. Feel free to post aditional info here to help everyone out.

The debate over the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 revealed bitter controversies on a number of issues. Discuss the issues involved and explain why these convtroversies developed

Alien and Sedition Acts (all four)
consist of four laws passed by the Federalist Congress
signed by President Adams in 1798
Congress dominated by the Federalists
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were prominant enemies of the Acts
widely unpopular and played major role in downfall of Federalist party
passed to restrict rights of aliens (presumed to be potential Republican voters or French radicals)
Adams refused to enforce any of teh Alien Acts
Congress passed the laws to protect national security (looming war w/ France)
similar (but not as stringent) laws passed around same time in Britain and Canada
majority of immigrants became Democratic-Republicans

Alien Act
empowered the president to arrest and deport dangerous aliens
response to the XYZ Affair
aimed at French and Irish immigrants, who were considered subversives
expired in 1800

Naturalization Act
increased waiting period for immigrants to become citizens from 5 to 14 years
response to the XYZ Affair
aimed at French and Irish immigrants, who were considered subversives
repealed in 1802
intended to decrease number of voters that disagreed with Federalist political party

Alien Enemy Act
allowed arrest and deportation of citizens of countries at war with the US
response to the XYZ Affair
aimed at French and Irish immigrants, who were considered subversives
expired in 1801

Sedition Act
illegal to publish defamatory statements about federal government or its officials
attempt by Federalists to stifle Democratic-Republican opposition
25 people were arrested, but only 10 people were ever convicted
punishment: imprisonment for up to five years and fines up to $5000
Act did not prohibit criticism of the Vice-President
required the defamatory words printed to be false

The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
attacked the interpretation of especially the Sedition Act
initiated the concept of "nullification" of federal laws
drafted by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison
part of campaigns to protest Federalist Party
claimed Acts were violation of civil liberties and freedom of the press clause of 1st Amendment
precedents to justify doctrine of nullification (principle that states could nullify federal laws)
major help in getting TJ elected in 1800

subversives - people who intended to overthrow or undermine an established government
alien - owing political allegiance to another country or government; foreign

Document Analysis moved to bottom of page!!!

pianogirl2422's picture
Joined: Mar 2005

Very nice list GoPunchRocks. I do have one correction..

After the XYZ affair Adams cut off trade with France and authorized the capture of armed French ships. Tension nearly led to war and in preparation for the worst the Department of the Navy was formed, not expanded. Napolean signed a treaty of peace before it came to that though.

[=RoyalBlue][=Comic Sans MS]
"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," say Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It

GoPunchRocks's picture
Joined: Oct 2005

lol thanks for the correction, however, it doesnt matter. My teacher said XYZ but meant Alien and Sedition. =( now ive got a whole new essay to write.

pianogirl2422's picture
Joined: Mar 2005

You should have forced her to give you an essay on XYZ affair!!!!

I expected better form you GoPunchRocks! ;)

[=RoyalBlue][=Comic Sans MS]
"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," say Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It

GoPunchRocks's picture
Joined: Oct 2005

Document Analysis

Document A
Washington is speaking with Adams (vice president at time) about Immigration. He discusses the issue of settling immigrants together in a body (Italians w Italians, French w French, etc.) versus allowing them to intermix amongst the populace. He feels that sorting them by culture would result in the retaining of their language and customs (good or bad) while by intermixing they become accustomed to the laws, customs, and measures of the US.

Document B
In this document, Jefferson is addressing the issue of the great number of immigrants he expects to come to the US. He argues that with them the immigrants will bring the principles of the government they left which would result in extreme forms of government in the US (anarchy or monarchy). Because the immigrants will come in large numbers and they will infuse their children with their political ideals, the legislation will become warped to fit their ideals, not the standards of republican government the US stood for. This entire document is ironic because these people would soon become Jefferson’s followers when he became the head of the Republicans.

Document C
In this letter, Jefferson denies having anything to do with the antifederalist (soon to be republican-democratic) party. He claims that he prefers not to submit to the ideals of any party whether in government, religion, or philosophy but rather to be a free thinker. He would rather not submit to a party at all but if he had to choose one, he would side with the federalists over the antifederalists. During this time period, political parties were nonexistent, in fact, Jefferson despised the idea of their existence in US government. He compares the parties to an addiction which deprives freedom.

Document D
This document is a letter from Hamilton during the time he released his financial plans. In the letter, Hamilton reveals that he is convinced that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison are heading a group which is hostile towards him. Jefferson and Madison both would rather narrow the federal authority during the congress sessions. Hamilton insults their choice by calling them “womanish” both in their tendency to follow France and resentment of England. Hamilton then accuses TJ and Madison of plotting to go to war with England had they been in charge. Finally, Hamilton addresses his reason in writing the letter – he wants to win the favor of the Virginians planning to join with the Republicans. He calls the party absurd and claims there is not foundation for it.

Document E
Thomas Jefferson tells Washington that he disagrees with Hamilton’s Financial Plan and that his disagreement was based on the theory that Hamilton planed to undermine and demolish the republic by gaining influence over the legislation through his plan. He then says he has seen the results of his attempt to gain influence first hand in the people who are accepting his plan. This is an early example of TJ separating from his “free thinking” ways.

Document F
This document is a direct contradiction to Thomas Jefferson’s statements in Doc. C. Here Thomas Jefferson is urging a fellow Republican congressman to start gathering steam against the Federalist party (probably due to the upcoming election). Jefferson even goes to the point of insulting the Federalists by calling them “Monocrats” which infers they believed in Monarchy rather than a republican form of government. He also declares that it is honorable to make a firm decision concerning which party one belongs to while it is “immoral” to walk the line between (or be a “free think” as he previously declared himself).

Document G
In this letter, Jefferson again shares his opinion that the Federalists are bad, he even calls them an “Anglican monarchical, & aristocratical” party. He says that this party is going against the republican values the US stood for during the war with England and they are attempting to revert to the British principles. Despite the emergence of this party, a great deal of the citizens remains true to the republican values but he claims both the executive and judiciary branches are against them. He further insults the party by saying that the officers in the government who don’t oppose the Federalists are timid people who prefer a guarantee of their position rather than true liberty.

Document H
This document is a piece of Washington’s farewell address which was actually written by Hamilton. Here Hamilton gets Washington to condemn political parties. His theory behind this statement is that since Washington was much respected, he may be able to stop or slow down the divide happening between the parties. This works to Hamilton’s advantage because he is the “butt end” of a generous portion of the political propaganda. However, it again proves ironic because Hamilton is the leader of the Federalist Party (something he is having Washington condemn).

Document I
This document is a line from an article written by Hamilton which, again, badmouths the Republican party for favoring France. He calls people who favor France traitors and un-American. Although this is written in light of the XYZ affair, the fact that Hamilton used a pseudonym leads a margin for debate of his real intentions. After all, he could be just attacking the republicans and using the XYZ affair as cover.

Document J
This is an address from Adams to the Federalist Congress in which he accuses the French of trying to split up the US government by using their different “affections, principles, and interests”. This could be an earnest request to congress to be ready for French attacks or it could be Adam’s manner in condemning the Republican beliefs.

Document K
In this line from a letter written by a federalist, the writer points out that through the XYZ affair, the Federalist can use it as leverage to attack the Republican beliefs and possibly completely remove them.

Document L
This is a letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison about the XYZ affair. Jefferson say that the events were an “artful misrepresentation” which shocked many of the republicans. Basically, Jefferson is claiming the situation got blown way out of proportion by the Federalists.

Document M
Document M is a cartoon depicting the events of the XYZ affair. The French are shown as ugly, revolting monsters while the Americans are highly civilized gentlemen. This was published during the time when Adams condemned the actions of the French.

Document N
In document N, Madison talks about how President Adams reveals more about his belief system every time he speaks. Madison figuratively “opens fire” on Adams due to his remark stating that the American and French revolutions are not the same at all. Madison argues that the revolutions are the same at heart because they were both attempting to abolish royalty. He makes a final inference that Adams is trying to become king in the last line.

Document O
This document is possible the most ironic of all. Hamilton, the leader of the federalists and the man who ignited the whole political split, basically says “maybe we’ve taken this too far”. He is afraid that the end result will be a civil war (which ironically it is) and that the sedation acts will result in tyranny. He urges the importance of slowing down the ratification to prevent such problems from occurring.

Document P
In this document, a republican congressman attacks the sedation act. He calls the act unconstitutional and claims it is halting the spread of ideas. He feels that the spread of ideas is an important factor in American government. He compares the bill to a weapon used by the Federalists to keep themselves in office rather than republicans.

Document Q
The overall tone of this document is that the president has gained too much power and is in a sense becoming a dictator. The speaker has a very sarcastic tone and is attempting to point out the faults in allowing the president so much power. Giving the president this power is like giving him the combined powers of the judicial, legislative, and executive branches all in one.

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