Adams and Jefferson Reading with Questions | Student Handouts
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Adams and Jefferson
Adams and Jefferson - Free printable reading with questions (PDF file) for high school American History students. Washington retired in 1797, firmly declining to serve for more than eight years as the nation's head. Thomas Jefferson of Virginia (Republican) and John Adams (Federalist) vied to succeed him. Adams won a narrow election victory. From the beginning, however, he was at the head of a party and an administration divided between his backers and those of his rival, Hamilton.

Adams faced serious international difficulties. France, angered by Jay's treaty with Britain, adopted its definition of contraband and began to seize American ships headed for Britain. By 1797 France had snatched 300 American ships and broken off diplomatic relations with the United States. When Adams sent three commissioners to Paris to negotiate, agents of Foreign Minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand (whom Adams labeled X, Y, and Z in his report to Congress) informed the Americans that negotiations could only begin if the United States loaned France $12 million and bribed officials of the French government. American hostility to France rose to an excited pitch. The so-called XYZ Affair led to the enlistment of troops and the strengthening of the fledgling U.S. Navy...

Questions with answers in bold:

1. What Federalist became the second president of the United States?
John Adams

2. Summarize the events of the XYZ Affair.
Agents of Talleyrand informed the Americans that negotiations could only begin if the United States loaned France $12 million and bribed officials of the French government.

3. Who ruled France at the time of the Convention of 1800?
Napoleon Bonaparte

4. What did the Naturalization Act do?
Changed the requirement for citizenship from five to 14 years.

5. What did the Alien Act do?
Gave the president the power to expel or imprison aliens in time of war.

6. The Sedition Act forbade writing, speaking, or publishing anything of a “false, scandalous, and malicious” nature against the president or Congress.
a. True
b. False

7. What was the doctrine of nullification?
Asserted that states could "interpose" their views on federal actions and "nullify" them.

8. Who served as the third president of the United States?
Thomas Jefferson

9. Who served as Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson?
Albert Gallatin
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Text courtesy of the U.S. State Department, Bureau of International Information Programs, 2005