Originally Posted by Rongo
Some of his words come across as petty, pompous and paranoid. Like when he bristled at the idea of the Chief Executive of the United States being addressed simply as "Mr. President" and instead wanted him addressed as "His Highness, the President of the United States and Protector of our Liberties". (
Can you imagine?)
That is the image the Federalist had. Adams, Hamilton etc. had been
loyal citizens of the crown for their entire lives before the became
rebels and wanted to secede. Once in power, they naturally fell back
on what they knew the best and that was a tint of monarchy.
What bothers me most about him though is his support of the Alien and Sedition Acts (which if I recall correctly may have been downplayed in the mini-series). I think it was a dangerous slide towards dictatorship that could have doomed democracy in this country right off the bat. And I also have a suspicion it was done more out of political pettiness and paranoia than out of a concern for national security.
Yes indeed, and don't forget Adams passed the Naturalization Act,
Alien Act, Alien Enemies Act and finally the Sedition Act.
It is a huge wart on Adams administration, then, and now.
Presidents can only act in accordance with the notion that their actions
are best designed to preserve the Union from all threats: domestic and
foreign. In this case, Adams signed it to squash any pro-French influence,
any criticism of the president and saw his violation of the then young Bill of Rights and the
freedom of speech, as a necessary move.
Adams always believed, always, that his move was a war move, writing, "I knew there was need enough of both, and therefore I consented to them."
Many Federalist, including Washington, supported the measure as a way
to silence the unfair criticism officials received from the press.
Noah Webster, a staunch Federalist, supported the move as well.
Mrs. Adams, in support of her husband wrote about the attacks from
Benjamin Franklin Bache, that they were " So criminal.. Yet daringly do the vile incendiaries keep
up in Bache’s paper the most wicked and base, violent & calumniating abuse. … But nothing will have
an effect until Congress passes a Sedition Bill.."
Abigail Adams to Her Sister 26 April 1798
The act caused Vice President Jefferson and James Madison to write the "Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions"
They didn't initially put their names on it.