John Adams's Presidency

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Would you have re-elected John Adams in 1800? Why or why not?

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Personally speaking, I wouldn't have voted for Adams. The main reason for my choice would've been his passing of the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts. The first of these draconian pieces of legislation gave the government broad powers to deport foreigners and to make it harder for immigrants to vote. This was because the Federalists, under President Adams, saw foreigners as a potential source of treachery and sedition.

But the Acts didn't just go after foreigners. They also made life hard for Adams's Republican opponents. Astonishing as it may seem, the Sedition Act effectively criminalized opposition to the government. The Act stipulated that huge fines and even imprisonment could be meted out to anyone who wrote, printed, or uttered anything against the government that could vaguely be construed as false, malicious, or scandalous.

Like many others, I would've regarded such measures as a betrayal of the precious liberty which Americans had fought so long and hard to preserve. In defeating the British in the Revolutionary War, Americans had removed one form of tyranny. The last thing they needed was the establishment of another one. Most Americans at the time would've been in agreement with me, which is why Adams lost the 1800 presidential election to Thomas Jefferson in a landslide.

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