AMERICAN HISTORY FOR AND BY SMARTIES John Adams, the poor SOB , was given a raw deal. He lost his bid for re-election to the presidency to Thomas Jefferson , his vice-president. When he was elected in their first contest he defeated Thomas Jefferson by a handful of votes. Two political parties came into being at this time . Jefferson led the Republican party and Adams led the Federalists. The Republicans stood for a check on the power of the presidency and the Federalists wanted a strong executive.

When George Washington was president , he decided to support England in their squabbles with France. This pissed off the French , because they thought their support during our revolution was instrumental in our victory. They got so mad they fired upon our ships and sunk some. Of course, the American people reacted to this with demands for war. Adams looked at France and saw a country with a big army led by a successful general, Napolean. He looked at America and saw a country without an army. He decided to try for peace negotiations with France.

If approval ratings were available at the time , his would have been lower than low. The people were clamoring for war and he wasn't getting any support from his own administration. Even his Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton , called him a fool. Things were so bad, he decided to ask for Jefferson's help. Jefferson was leading the opposition party and even paying smut peddlers to vilify Adams. Adams thought Jefferson would put country ahead of party and join him in trying to negotiate peace with the French. He was wrong. Jefferson wasn't a nice guy when it came to politics.

Adams thought he could turn things around with a treaty. His attempts succeeded but word of the treaty didn't reach America until after the election, which Jefferson barely won. Adams held a grudge against Jefferson for ten years. They eventually became friends and communicated regularly. On the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the 4th of July 1826 , both Adams and Jefferson died.