02 – John Adams

The intro and outro music for the John Adams episodes unless otherwise stated is from “Hail, Columbia” as performed by the US Navy Band. The full recording can be found at Wikipedia. The song was originally called “The President’s March” and was composed for Washington’s first inaugural. More information about the history of “Hail, Columbia” can be found at Wikipedia.

Cover Art and Link to Episode

Description

Years Discussed

Source Notes Link

2.01 – Adams Pre-Presidency Part One

A brief overview of the history of the Adams family, and John Adams’s life to 1772

1638-1772

Source Notes

2.02 – Adams Pre-Presidency Part Two

A brief overview of Adams’s career during the American Revolution, his tenure as a diplomat in Europe, and his service as Vice President

1773-1797

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2.03 – The New Sheriff in Town

Adams takes the oath of office but finds himself beset with problems from the very beginning, including a threat for his Cabinet to resign.

1796-1797

 Source Notes

2.04 – Hither and Yon: The News From Abroad

A brief overview of events in Britain, France, and Saint-Domingue that would impact the Adams presidency.

1783-1797

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2.05 – Et Tu, France?

The Adams administration learns of a break in diplomatic relations with France and works to determine an appropriate response as Adams cultivates sources of information in Europe independent of the State Dept.

1796-1797

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2.06 – Scandals and Observations

Abigail Adams arrives in Philadelphia as the first of the original six frigates of the US Navy is launched and Adams appoints peace commissioners to France. Meanwhile, scandal rocks the Senate and news of Hamilton’s extramarital affair becomes public.

1792-1797

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2.07 – One Hand Washes the Other: The XYZ Affair

The three commissioners sent by Adams arrive in France to begin negotiations but are under pressure from French Foreign Minister Talleyrand to pay a bribe in order to be officially recognized.

1797-1798

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2.08 – Have At Thee!

The Adams administration learns of the XYZ Affair, and the President is faced with the decision of whether or not to go to war. Meanwhile, partisan divisions lead to physical brawls on the floor of the House.

1797-1798

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2.09 – All Around and Away They Go

Adams & the Federalists are ascendant in Philadelphia as the public learns of the XYZ Affair but go a step too far. Meanwhile, other geopolitical developments slowly draw in the expansion-minded US.

1797-1799

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2.095 – Abigail Adams

The life and legacy of Abigail Adams as explored in narrative and in an interview with historian Feather Schwartz Foster.

1744-1818

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2.10 – Checkmate: Hamilton

Adams quickly comes to regret his naming George Washington as commander-in-chief of the US Army when Washington decides to appoint Alexander Hamilton as his second in command. Meanwhile, Gerry’s mission to France makes little headway as Talleyrand and Napoleon focus on plans to reestablish France as a major colonial power.

1798

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2.11 – The Opposition Strikes Back

The government is challenged with a temporary move to Trenton and with Secretary of War James McHenry having his position in the Cabinet undermined by General Alexander Hamilton. In Quincy, John Adams meets with Elbridge Gerry to learn more about the latest offer for diplomatic talks with the French while in Virginia, Vice President Jefferson and former Rep. James Madison plot how to oppose the Alien and Sedition Acts.

1798

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2.12 – Ready, Aim, Fire!

As the nation gears up for the possibility of war with France in 1798, President Adams is increasingly focused on the possibility of peace as he prepares his annual message to Congress. Meanwhile, a rising star in the French military suffers a major setback that imperils the French Republic’s position on the global landscape.

1798

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2.13 – Destiny Written in the Stars

Despite the wealth of evidence coming in of the sincerity of the French Directory in seeking peace, President Adams found himself at odds with his Secretary of State Timothy Pickering at the beginning of 1799 with Pickering continuing the push for war. Meanwhile, the US Navy proved its worth in protecting American shipping in the Caribbean just as relations with the British began a downward spiral once more.

1797-1799

Source Notes

2.14 – The Plausible Probability of Preserving the Peace

dams throws the American political landscape into a frenzy with a special message to Congress announcing that he was appointing a new Minister to France to negotiate peace. While exploring what this all means for Adams, his administration, and the nation, we also take a step back in this episode to look at the influence of American policy in Saint-Domingue and South America on the realities and future of Franco-American relations in 1799.

1798-1799

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2.15 – Hot Time, Summer in the Country

John Adams makes a fateful decision that threatens his administration and its ability to react quickly to developing events. Meanwhile, General James Wilkinson’s past collusion with the Spanish is discovered by a government agent in the Mississippi Territory. Closer to home, Fries’s Rebellion comes to a close as harassment of Democratic-Republican newspaper editors ramps up.

1797-1799

Source Notes

2.16 – High Noon in Trenton

New unrest in the government of France in 1799 presented President Adams with an important decision as to whether to continue with his peace overtures. Meanwhile, competing agendas within his own administration prompt one of Adams’s Cabinet members to urge him to end his sojourn in Quincy as yet another yellow fever epidemic strikes Philadelphia.

1798-1799

Source Notes

2.17 – Some Awful Crisis

In Trenton, Adams confronted his Cabinet as well as Gen. Alexander Hamilton over the peace mission to France before the government moved back to Philadelphia for one last winter. After the new session of Congress began in December 1799, news arrived which was described as a national tragedy and had many wondering what lay in store for the US as a new century dawned.

1798-1799

Source Notes

2.18 – New Year, New à Vous

The French Directory falls, and the three US peace commissioners are left with many questions as to how to proceed before they even arrive in Paris. Meanwhile, the US government considers a change in its policy towards the Barbary States, and the USS Constellation engages French naval forces once more in the Caribbean.

1797-1800

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2.19 – Don’t Let the Door Hit You

As the presidential election of 1800 looms and party leaders begin weighing their options, President Adams decides that the time is right to make a few changes in his administration. To the President’s detriment, though, Arch Federalists are scheming at the same time to remove him from his office. Meanwhile, new congressmen are making a name for themselves, and Toussaint L’Ouverture works to consolidate his power in Hispanola.

1799-1800

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2.20 – A Proper Sense of Their Duty

As the new members of the Adams Cabinet come on board, the President travels south to inspect the work on the new Federal Capital as the US government begins its move from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. Meanwhile, Adams makes a decision on the fates of those convicted of crimes for their participation in Fries’s Rebellion, and federal prosecutions under the Sedition Act continue as Democratic-Republicans gear up for the upcoming presidential election.

1799-1800

Source Notes

2.21 – I am Gabriel, That Stands in the Presence of God

The revolution in Saint-Domingue inspires enslaved people in the United States to seek their freedom in the 1790s at a time that the slaveocracy was becoming more ingrained in the American economy, society, and legal codes. With a focus on Virginia, this episode will explore the shifts in the American slave system in the late 1790s and the planned insurrection that has come to be known as Gabriel’s Rebellion.

1792-1801

Source Notes

2.22 – Enter the Federal City

As President Adams and the federal government transition to the new federal capital, the next presidential election looms, and both Federalist and Democratic-Republican leaders work on behalf of their favored candidates to meet challenges to their prospects. While Federalists cope with an internal debate over exactly which candidate to support, Democratic-Republicans in Virginia work to cover up the involvement of French agents in Gabriel’s Rebellion. All the while, the US commission to France scrambles to conclude their work with a treaty in time for Adams and the Federalists to claim credit for winning the peace.

1799-1801

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2.23 – The Double-Edged Sword

As the new federal capital comes alive with government officials and newspaper publishers moving in to be on hand for the congressional session opening in November 1800, President Adams waits with the rest of the nation to learn the results of electors being chosen across the United States. His path to reelection however grows ever darker due to a dispute with his running mate’s brother and a pamphlet released by Alexander Hamilton.

1796-1800

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2.24 – The 36th Ballot

The nation had little time to process the news that Adams was defeated in his bid for reelection as a constitutional crisis developed regarding who would succeed him to the post. Meanwhile, the outgoing president only had a few weeks remaining to secure the ratification of the Convention of Mortefontaine, get several federal judges confirmed including a new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and get a new Treasury Secretary in place.

1800-1801

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2.25 – Adams Post-Presidency

After leaving the presidency, John Adams searched for a path ahead. In the process, he dealt with emotions that had been building for years, rebuilt some bridges that had been burned in political battles, suffered numerous personal heartaches, and bore witness to a quarter century more of the nation’s history.

1801-1826

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2.26- Adams Q&A

In this episode, we discuss topics ranging from Adams’s tenure as US Minister to the Netherlands to his relationship with his family members to his and JQA’s legacies to what kind of food he liked based on questions submitted by listeners.

1735-1848

Source Notes

Some other sources for learning about our second president available online include:

Featured Image: John Adams by Gilbert Stuart (c.1800-1815), courtesy of Wikimedia

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