Adams and the Alien and Sedition Act



John Adams is known to history as many things–the nation’s first vice-president, the nation’s second president, the most vocal supporter of independence from Great Britain at the Continental Congress, and as the father of our nation’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams. He is also the first president to not win a bid for re-election to a second term in office. That loss was partially due to his imperial attitude and acts of questionable constitutionality while in office. The one that made the biggest negative impact on his presidency was his passage of the Alien and Sedition Act.
The Alien and Sedition Act essentially made any criticism of the government illegal, and seriously impinged upon the First Amendment. Adams received a lot of negative publicity for this act, and it was at least partially responsible for his defeat to Thomas Jefferson in his re-election bid (and the end of their close friendship for the next couple of decades)...