John Adams Presidency Essay, Research Paper
John Adams was a realistic president. Adams was viewed by his peers as one of the most significant statesmen of the revolutionary era, but his status among the distinguished faded. What made Adams a prominent figure at first, later led to his demise as the second president. Above all John Adams was honest, he also had a sharp way with words. The two most important qualities that helped him through his four years were his caliber as a political thinker, and he pragmatic perspective on American foreign policy. First, John Adams had to surpass a few obstacles after taking office in 1797.
As the second president of the newly founded country, John Adams found these obstacles from the beginning. He inherited many burdens from Washington s presidency. Such burdens included, a raging naval conflict with the French in the Caribbean named the “Quasi war”; and the impractical task of succeeding the greatest hero of the revolutionary era, of course, Washington.
The Quasi War carried throughout the Adams presidency. He had to make the decision as whether or not to engage in war with France. Hamiltonians were enraged by John Adams decision not to declare war on France. While the Jeffersionians were willing to give it one last try with France. Adams attempted to steer a middle course between these partisan sides, which left him vulnerable to political attacks from both sides. If Adams had requested a declaration of war in 1798, he would have enjoyed widespread popularity and a virtually certain reelection two years later. Instead, John Adams acted with characteristic independence by sending yet another, and this time successful, peace delegation to France against the advice of his cabinet and his Federalist supporters. The move ruined him politically but avoided a costly war that the young American republic was ill prepared to fight. John Adams did not fair so well in passing the Alien and Sedition Acts.
The two acts were passed within less than a month. Neither act was accepted with open arms. Part of the reason it was not readily accepted was because it took away the rights of Americans and immigrants and gave the power to the government. The government seemed to be scared. If their was not a threat then the Alien Act would not had been passed. So there must had been a reason that it was so necessary that the Act was passed. The other act passed a week before was the Naturalization Act. This too was doomed to survive. More people were traveling to the New World, yet there rights were being dimished. These acts proved to be John Adams major domestic failure.
John Adams handled the office practically. He made unpopular, but safe decisions for the young, vulnerable country. These decisions were necessary for America to establish itself without engaging in another war. Another war could have simply destroyed the ambitious country. By simply protecting the United States, John Adams basically signed away his chance to win a second term in office. Though not seen at that point in history, the self-less act reiterated John Adams image of honesty and his outstanding knowledge of Foreign policy.