The other answers here discuss the immediate issues that led to this pivotal Supreme Court case. Therefore, I will discuss some of the deeper background issues that also contributed to it.
This all stemmed from some of the earliest political rivalries in the young United States. President John Adams was a staunch Federalist. The Federalists tended to have the support of the urban and business elite of the country as well as wealthy planters. This party supported a more active and powerful role taken by the federal government. Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican, favored a much more decentralized approach to governance than Adams. His party had more support among the agrarian sector of the United States. This struggle between two factions and their ideologies had been ongoing since the original drafting of the country's constitution.
As he was leaving office, Adams was keenly aware that the overall mood of the country had shifted to favor Jefferson's vision. Members of the...
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