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10 août 2011 3 10 /08 /août /2011 12:24

Presidency 1825–1829

Adams served as the sixth President of the United States from March 4, 1825, to March 4, 1829. He took the oath of office on a book of laws, instead of the more traditional Bible, to preserve the separation of church and state.Sony VAIO VPCF127HGBI Battery

Politics

Adams' singular intelligence, vast experience, unquestionable integrity, and devotion to his country should have made him a great chief executive. But, like his father, he lacked political sense and an ability to command public support, and his contentious spirit spelled defeat for him personally and for many of his policies. Sony VAIO VPCF137HG/BI Battery

He supported internal improvements (roads, ports and canals), a national university, and federal support for the arts and sciences. He favored a high tariff to encourage the building of factories, and restricted land sales to slow the movement west. Opposition from the states' rights faction quickly killed the proposals.Sony VAIO VPCS111FM/S Battery

Even more serious was the attack by the followers of Jackson, who accused him of being a partner to a "corrupt bargain" to obtain Clay's support in the election and then appoint him secretary of state.Refusing to play politics, Adams did little or nothing to build up a personal following committed to his re-election.Sony VAIO VPCS115EC Battery

He refused to discharge federal officeholders when they actively joined the opposition, and even considered appointing Jackson to his cabinet. Losing control of Congress in the elections of 1826, he still persisted in his independent policies and thus insured his own overwhelming defeat by Jackson two years later.Sony VAIO VPCS115FG Battery

He was particularly embittered by the unfounded accusations of fraud and extravagance made against him during the campaign by his opponents (not to mention the false accusation that he had pimped for the Czar of Russia ). The Adams administration recorded no major legislative, diplomatic, military or administrative achievements.Sony VAIO VPCS117GG Battery

Congress did pass the high Tariff of 1828—the "tariff of abominations" that after his term created a political crisis centered in South Carolina. Jackson defeated Adams in a landslide in 1828, and created the modern Democratic party thus inaugurating theSecond Party System.Sony VAIO VPCS117GGB Battery

In 1826, Adams was president of a prestigious society, Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences.

Domestic policies

During his term, Adams worked on developing the American System, consisting of a high tariff to support internal improvements such as road-building, Sony VAIO VPCS118EC Battery

and a national bank to encourage productive enterprise and form a national currency. In his first annual message to Congress, Adams presented an ambitious program for modernization that included roads, canals, a national university, an astronomical observatory, and other initiatives. Sony VAIO VPCS119FJ/B Battery

The support for his proposals was limited, even from his own party. His critics accused him of unseemly arrogance because of his narrow victory. Most of his initiatives were opposed in Congress by Jackson's supporters, who remained outraged over the 1824 election.Sony VAIO VPCS119GC Battery

Nonetheless, some of his proposals were adopted, specifically the extension of the Cumberland Road into Ohio with surveys for its continuation west to St. Louis; the beginning of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, the construction of the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal and the Portland to Louisville Canal around the falls of the Ohio; Sony VAIO VPCS11AFJ Battery

the connection of the Great Lakes to the Ohio River system in Ohio and Indiana; and the enlargement and rebuilding of the Dismal Swamp Canal in North Carolina.

One of the issues which divided the administration was protective tariffs. Henry Clay was a leading advocate, but Vice President John C. Calhoun was an opponent.Sony VAIO VPCS11AGJ Battery

After Adams lost control of Congress in 1827, the situation became more complicated. By signing into law the Tariff of 1828 (also known as the Tariff of Abominations), extremely unpopular in the South, he limited his chances to achieve more during his presidency.Sony VAIO VPCS11AHJ Battery

Adams and Clay set up a new party, the National Republican Party, but it never took root in the states. In the elections of 1826, Adams and his supporters lost control of Congress. New York Senator Martin Van Buren, a future president and follower of Jackson, became the chief organizer of the antui-Adams forces.Sony VAIO VPCS11AVJ Battery

Much of Adams' political difficulties were due to his refusal, on principle, to replace members of his administration who supported Jackson (contending that no one should be removed from office except for incompetence). For example, his Postmaster General,Sony VAIO VPCS11J7E/B Battery

John McLean, continued in office through the Adams administration, although he was using his powers of patronage to curry favor with Jacksonians.

Another blow to Adams' presidency was his generous policy toward Native Americans. Settlers on the frontier, who were constantly seeking to move westward, cried for a more expansionist policy. Sony VAIO VPCS11M1E/W Battery

When the federal government tried to assert authority on behalf of the Cherokees, the governor of Georgia took up arms. Adams defended his domestic agenda as continuing Monroe's policies. In contrast, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren instigated the policy of Indian removal to the west (i.e. the Trail of Tears).Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E Battery

Foreign policies

Adams is regarded as one of the greatest diplomats in American history, and during his tenure as Secretary of State he was the chief designer of the Monroe Doctrine.

Adams had witnessed the Barbary Wars against the Islamic pirates of North Africa, and the Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Turks.Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E/B Battery

Adams accepted that the Greek fight for independence from the Turks was only the beginning of a long conflict between Islam and the West. Although he sympathised with the Greeks, and held a deep mistrust of the defeated Muslims, he was reluctant to support America's involvement in continuing wars far from home.Sony VAIO VPCS11X9E/B Battery

On July 4, 1821, he gave an address to Congress:

... But she [the United States of America] goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.Sony VAIO VPCS123FGB Battery

During his term as president, however, Adams achieved little of consequence in foreign affairs. A reason for this was the opposition he faced in Congress, where his rivals prevented him from succeeding.

Among the few diplomatic achievements of his administration were treaties of reciprocity with a number of nations,Sony VAIO VPCS125EC Battery

including Denmark, Mexico, the Hanseatic League, the Scandinavian countries, Prussia and Austria. However, thanks to the successes of Adams' diplomacy during his previous eight years as Secretary of State, most of the foreign policy issues he would have faced had been resolved by the time he became President.Sony VAIO VPCS128EC Battery

Adams’ Petitions

John Quincy Adams had been presenting anti-slavery petitions on the floor of the House since he was first elected to the Congress. In the wake of the coinciding slavery and free speech debates surrounding the increasingly present abolitionist literature, the number of petitions brought to the house floor concerning the matter was multiplying rapidly. Sony VAIO VPCS129GC Battery

Some estimate that the numbers of petitions approached the tens of thousands in the first months of 1836. The southern congressmen, led by John Henry Hammond of South Carolina, moved to eliminate any discussion of the issue from the House floor. Hammond asked that any anti-slavery petitions submitted to the House not be accepted.Sony VAIO VPCS12C7E/B Battery

Congress engaged in heated debate over the right to petition the government, but the “gag rule” soon came to be adopted, and any discussion of the slavery question and the presentation of any associated petition were banned. The practice was to immediately table any petition or resolution concerning slavery and never act on it thereafter.Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B Battery

Aside from the blow this action dealt to the expanding abolitionist movement, the gag rule also prompted questions of free speech and its role and limitations in the proceedings of the House of Representatives. The House is and was subject to its own Rules and the ability of the members to ban discussion of a national issue became fodder for intense debate.Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B Battery

Adams felt that he had to challenge both the country’s acceptance of slavery, but also the House’s adoption of a rule that would limit debate of national issues and issues that were at the forefront of public debate.Sony VAIO VPCY115FGS Battery

Adams used his formal legal training to mount an involved attack against the gag rule and against the movement to limit the congressional discussion of the contentious issue of slavery. At the time, there were a series of gag rules instituted at the urging of several southern members according to the parliamentary requirements of the House.Sony VAIO VPCY115FX/BI Battery

Adams found creative and unique ways to continue challenging these same rules on different grounds and with different tactics.

In William Lee Miller’s book, Arguing about Slavery, the author chronicles much of John Quincy Adams’ fight against this censorship of speech on the House floor. Sony VAIO VPCY115FXBI Battery

Adams engaged his colleagues first by requesting that petitions brought before the institution of the gag order be reviewed. Figuring that the gag rule could not pertain to items brought to the attention of the chair prior to its existence, Adams suggested the presentation of those petitions. Sony VAIO VPCY118EC Battery

This request was disallowed, now effectively making the gag rule a retroactive rule of the House. Adams then, with his colleague from Massachusetts, began to present a series of petitions from other nearby states and states up and down the eastern seaboard, as he was no longer allowed to present petitions from those in his own state. Sony VAIO VPCY118GX/BI Battery

Both he and his colleague also presented petitions from women praying for abolition. Women, as non-voters, were not directly banned from petitioning per the gag rule. All of these parliamentary tricks were in vain, however, as the gag rule resulted in each being summarily dismissed.Sony VAIO VPCY119FJ/S Battery

Miller discusses Adams’ actions on February 6, 1837 in great detail. On that day, John Quincy Adams stirred up the debate in the House with conniving adeptness by further challenges to the gag rule specifically as it concerned petitions. Adams began to present a petition from what he said were nine ladies from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Sony VAIO VPCY11AFJ Battery

Prevented from doing so by the house ban on such petitions, Adams moved on, but not without creating interest among his colleagues. One of the congressmen who was from Fredericksburg became intrigued as to who the nine abolitionist ladies from a proud slave-holding southern state were, and reviewed the petition.Sony VAIO VPCY11AGJ Battery

He then challenged Adams on the grounds that the women purported to have offered the petition were not “ladies” as Adams has suggested. The congressman from Virginia suggested that the women, if any existed, were free black women or women of mixed race, and implied that all were of questionable character. Sony VAIO VPCY11AHJ Battery

Adams amended his petition, saying it was a petition from women rather than ladies, but insisted he could still present it to the House. Adams’ challenge to the notions of his colleagues about what sort of citizens were appropriate candidates to petition was ill-received, but he would press farther still.Sony VAIO VPCY11AVJ Battery

After his petition from the women of Fredericksburg was denied, Adams asked for clarification as to whether it was within the rules of the House to present a petition signed by twenty-two enslaved persons. His question ignited pandemonium in the House. Adams’ colleagues came to the floor to express their disapproval, shock, indignation, and outrage.Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E/S Battery

Many attacked the former president personally. Ultimately, congressman Dixon Hall Lewis of Alabama offered a motion that Congressman Adams be punished, and suggested that if Adams were not punished, all members from slaveholding states should protest by leaving the proceedings.Sony VAIO VPCY11S1E Battery

Many members offered suggestions and objections until Congressman Waddy Thompson offered a motion to censure former president Adams and bring him before the speaker to receive a formal reprimand. The actual proposal for censure follows:Sony VAIO VPCY11V9E/S Battery

Resolved, that J.Q. Adams, a member from the State of Massachusetts, by his attempt to introduce into this House a petition of slaves for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, committed an outrage on the rights and feelings of a large portion of the people of the Union, a flagrant contempt on the dignity of this House; Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/BI Battery

and by extending to slaves a privilege only belonging to freemen, directly incites the slave population to insurrection; and that the said member be forthwith called to the bar of the House, and censured by the Speaker.

Miller describes Adams’ response as an intentionally understated and humble attempt at correcting the misinformation in the censure proposal.Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/G Battery

According to Miller, Adams took issue with the following: "The resolution charged him with attempting to present a petition from slaves asking for the abolition of slavery in the District of Colombia. In the first place, he would remind the House that he had not attempted to present the petition;Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/L Battery

he had simply asked for a ruling by the Speaker about the status of such a petition under the Hawes resolution".

Furthermore, Adams took issue with the assumption that the petition was a petition for the abolition of slavery. Sony VAIO VPCY218EC/P Battery

He informed the House that the petition was actually not asking for the members to consider abolishing slavery, but in fact was supplicating in favor of the opposite view. This revelation further angered the members of the House, who now believed that Adams was acting in contempt of the rules and decorum of the body.Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery

Miller suggests that while many of Adams’ colleagues were enraged at his manipulation of the House and his deceptive tactics to control the debate, the true issue was that Adams had suggested that, regardless of its content, a petition by slaves would be considered legitimate.Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/P Battery

Over the next days, many of the members of the House rose to publicly condemn Adams and disparage his actions, but not all felt that he should be censured. Even two representatives of slaveholding states suggested that a censure of Adams could be conceived as an attack on the liberty of speech. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/SI Battery

Many of the congressmen from the northern states who spoke during the uproar would say the same, but few if any, would defend Adams absolutely. The only two congressmen to vocally defend Adams during the debate over censuring him were his Massachusetts colleagues: Caleb Cushingand Levi Lincoln.Sony VAIO VPCZ110 Battery

Controversy remains over the origin of the petition of the slaves against Adams’ cause. Some suggest the petition was a ruse entirely fabricated by Adams or his allies to initiate the debate that ensued. Others believe the signatures were authentic but products of coercion or force.Sony VAIO VPCZ110GB/BI Battery

A contemporary of Adams alleged that the petition had been a hoax planned by enemies of Adams, designed to make him look ridiculous for presenting so many petitions by having him present a petition for his own expulsion by mistake. Sony VAIO VPCZ112GD/S Battery

Whatever the origin of the petition, Adams took advantage of his right to defend himself in front of the members to deliver days of prepared and impromptu remarks against slavery and in favor of abolition. He spoke against the slave trade and the ownership of slaves. Sony VAIO VPCZ112GX/S Battery

Adams went so far as to suggest the dissolution of the Union on the grounds that to remain whole would mean supporting the institution of slavery and the views of southern slaveholders. To this end, he presented yet another signed petition that actually called to dissolve the union of states.Sony VAIO VPCZ114GX/S Battery

He had angered his colleagues yet again, who now believed his censure necessary not only for trickery and indecency, but even for treason. As others continued to attack him and call for his censure, Adams continued to debate the issues of slavery and the evils of slaveholding. Sony VAIO VPCZ115 Battery

Adams had cleverly lifted the gag rule by debating slavery on the House floor in the moments he was allowed to rise in his defense against the threat of censure. Adams also called into question the actions of a House that would limit its own ability to debate and resolve questions internally. Sony VAIO VPCZ115FC/B Battery

He forced his colleagues to consider the precedent they were setting for the legislative arm of the United States government if members could be censured for speech on the House floor.

On February 7, 1842, the United States House of Representatives voted 106 to 93 to table the motion to censure Representative Adams. Sony VAIO VPCZ115FC/S Battery

No further motion personal to Adams concerning his issue was accepted by the House, and so the former President of the United States was not censured by the House of Representatives. Years later, a more orchestrated attempt at censuring former-President Adams would take form, but this would be politically motivated and planned.Sony VAIO VPCZ116 Battery

Although any move to censure Adams over the slavery petition was ultimately abandoned, the House did address the issue of petitions from enslaved persons. Adams rose again to argue that the right to petition was a universal right granted by God so that those in the weakest positions might always have recourse to those in the most powerful.Sony VAIO VPCZ116GX/S Battery

None agreed with him or joined him. Despite a rigorous defense launched by Adams, the house resolved almost unanimously, with the support of even the northerners who defended Adams, that the right to petition one’s government applied only to free white persons.Sony VAIO VPCZ117 Battery

The two resolutions passed at the end of this period of debate follow:

Resolved, that this House cannot receive the said petition without disregarding its own dignity, the rights of a large class of citizens of the South and West, and the constitution of the United States.Sony VAIO VPCZ117FC/B Battery

Resolved, That slaves do not possess the right of petition secured to the people of the United States by the constitution.

Anti-slavery advocacy

Before 1820, Adams was best known as an exponent of American nationalism.Sony VAIO VPCZ118 Battery

Late in life, especially after his election to the House, he was famous as the most prominent national leader opposing slavery. He was not an abolitionist, say biographers Nagle and Parsons. Remini notes that Adams thought the end of slavery would come either by civil war or the consent of the slave South, but definitely not through the work of abolitionists.Sony VAIO VPCZ118GC/B Battery

The turning point came with the debate on the Missouri Compromise in 1820 when he broke with his friend John C. Calhoun, who became the most outspoken national leader in favor of slavery. They became bitter enemies. Sony VAIO VPCZ118GX/S Battery

Adams vilified slavery as a terrible evil and preached total abolition, while Calhoun countered that the right to own slaves had to be protected from interference from the federal government to keep the nation alive. Adams said slavery contradicted the principles of republicanism,Sony VAIO VPCZ119 Battery

while Calhoun said that slavery was essential to American democracy, for it made all white men equal. Both men pulled away from nationalism, and started to consider dissolution of the Union as a way of resolving the slavery predicament. Adams predicted that if the South formed a new nation, it would be torn apart by an extremely violent slave insurrection. Sony VAIO VPCZ119FJ/S Battery

If the two nations went to war, Adams predicted the president of the United States would use his war powers to abolish slavery. The two men became ideological leaders of the North and the South. In the House Adams became a champion of free speech, demanding that petitions against slavery be heard despite a "gag rule" that said they could not be heard.Sony VAIO VPCZ119GC/X Battery

In 1841, Adams had the case of a lifetime, representing the defendants in United States v. The Amistad Africans in the Supreme Court of the United States. He successfully argued that the Africans, who had seized control of a Spanish ship on which they were being transported illegally as slaves, Sony VAIO VPCZ119L Battery

should not be extradited or deported to Cuba (a Spanish colony where slavery was legal) but should be considered free. Under President Martin Van Buren, the government argued the Africans should be deported for having mutinied and killed officers on the ship. Adams won their freedom, with the chance to stay in the United States or return to Africa.Sony VAIO VPCZ119R/B Battery

Adams made the argument because the U.S. had prohibited the international slave trade, although it allowed internal slavery. He never billed for his services in the Amistad case.  The speech was directed not only at the justices of this Supreme Court hearing the case, but also to the broad national audience he instructed in the evils of slavery.Sony VAIO VPCZ119R/S Battery

Adams repeatedly spoke out against the "Slave Power", that is the organized political power of the slave owners who dominated all the southern states and their representation in Congress. He vehemently attacked the annexation of Texas (1845) and the Mexican War (1846–48) as part of a "conspiracy" to extend slavery.Sony VAIO VPCZ11AFJ Battery,Sony VAIO VPCZ11AGJ Battery,Sony VAIO VPCZ11AVJ Battery,Sony VAIO VPCZ11CGX/X Battery,Sony VAIO VPCZ11DGX/SJ Battery,Sony VAIO VPCZ11FHX/XQ Battery,Sony VAIO VPCZ11V9R/B Battery,Sony VAIO VPCZ11X9E/B Battery

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