John Adams Paper - (Robert ) Eric Pritchard Poli Sci 302...

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(Robert ) Eric Pritchard 3/6/08 Poli Sci 302 Spring 08 John Adams: The First “Next President” It is always hard to follow in the footsteps of greatness. John Adams faced with a very interesting situation, being the successor to the revered George Washington. Adams had no model on which to base the transition from one president to the next, which was unfortunate for him because he was thrust into the presidency at time of bitter partisan dissent. Adams made both good and bad decisions during his presidency, his bad decisions costing him his reputation and chance at re-election. John Adams inherited entered the Presidency amid major strife within the country over the Jay treaty. Democratic-Republicans were upset about the Jay treaty, which had been signed in Britain in 1794 during George Washington’s second term, and called for an end to the British occupation of posts in the American northwest, as well as trading rights with Britain for American ships in the Caribbean, and a stoppage of hostilities between British and American vessels on the high seas (Milkis pg. 85). The Jay Treaty, however, “provided no compensation to slave owners for the slaves seized by the British at the end of the Revolution. Nor did it create a mechanism to settle the pre- Revolutionary War debts that Americans owed to British citizens (Milkis pg. 85).” John Adams made some decisions which would prove to be major mistakes early in his presidency. Adams’ biggest mistake was that he kept a nearly identical cabinet to that of George Washington (Milkis pg. 90). Adams did this “both in deference to his
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predecessor and because he believed that good government required able and experienced administrators (Milkis pg. 90)”. Most of these cabinet members were heavily influenced by and extremely loyal to Alexander Hamilton (Milkis pg. 90), who believed that Adams was not a strong enough Federalist (Milkis pg. 89). Another mistake of Adams’s was that of spending more time at his home in Quincy, Massachusetts, than in Philadelphia, the capital at the time, in which the rest of the government was seated (Milkis pg. 90). This meant that he could not have been keeping very close watch upon his Alexander Hamilton-loyal cabinet, possibly making their opposition towards him even stronger. An interesting situation to consider would be one in which Adams created a
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course POLI SCI 302 taught by Professor Kirsch during the Spring '08 term at UMass (Amherst).

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John Adams Paper - (Robert ) Eric Pritchard Poli Sci 302...

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