A new episode of the Madison presidency series is now available!

Season 2

August 07, 2019

2.26 – Adams Q&A

Year(s) Discussed: 1735-1848 I asked for your questions to wrap up our series on the second POTUS, and you sent in some great ones! In this episode, we discuss everything 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. Thanks to everyone who sent in questions! For those listening through a podcatcher, my apologies for the audio quality – I recorded it as a video and had to add in alternate audio later as I referenced what would be shown on the screen.

02 - John Adams

July 04, 2019

2.25 – Adams Post-Presidency

Year(s) Discussed: 1801-1826 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.

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June 15, 2019

2.24 – The 36th Ballot

Year(s) Discussed: 1800-1801 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.

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June 08, 2019

2.23 – The Double-Edged Sword

Year(s) Discussed: 1796-1800 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.

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May 19, 2019

2.22 – Enter the Federal City

Year(s) Discussed: 1799-1801 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.

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May 05, 2019

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

Year(s) Discussed: 1792-1801 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.

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April 21, 2019

2.20 – A Proper Sense of Their Duty

Year(s) Discussed: 1799-1800 With the new members of the Adams Cabinet coming 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 while federal prosecutions under the Sedition Act continue and Democratic-Republicans gear up for the upcoming presidential election.

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April 07, 2019

2.19 – Don’t Let the Door Hit You

Year(s) Discussed: 1799-1800 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.

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March 24, 2019

2.18 – New Year, New à Vous

Year(s) Discussed: 1797-1800 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.

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March 10, 2019

2.17 – Some Awful Crisis

Year(s) Discussed: 1798-1799 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.

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February 24, 2019

2.16 – High Noon in Trenton

Year(s) Discussed: 1798-1799 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.

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February 10, 2019

2.15 – Hot Time, Summer in the Country

Year(s) Discussed: 1797-1799 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.

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January 27, 2019

2.14 – The Plausible Probability of Preserving the Peace

Year(s) Discussed: 1798-1799 Adams 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.

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January 13, 2019

2.13 – Destiny Written in the Stars

Year(s) Discussed: 1797-1799 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.

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January 02, 2019

2.12 – Ready, Aim, Fire!

Year(s) Covered: 1798 As the nation gears up for the possibility of war with France, 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.

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December 16, 2018

2.11 – The Opposition Strikes Back

Year(s) Discussed: 1798 With yellow fever raging in Philadelphia, the federal government has to move once more, adding to the headaches of Secretary of War James McHenry who had his position in the Cabinet already being 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.

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December 02, 2018

2.10 – Checkmate: Hamilton

Year(s) Discussed: 1798 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. As the threat of war looms, the President and his commanding general end up in a back and forth that threatens the preparedness of the Army. Meanwhile, Elbridge Gerry’s mission to France makes little headway as Talleyrand and Napoleon focus on plans to reestablish France as a major colonial power.

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November 25, 2018

2.095 – Abigail Adams

Year(s) Discussed: 1744-1818 This special episode is all about the life and times of Abigail Smith Adams, the learned woman from Weymouth who became the second First Lady of the United States. Returning to the show to share her insight on Abigail is Presidential and First Lady historian Feather Schwartz Foster. Join us as we explore her fascinating life and discuss what legacy she leaves as First Lady and a historical figure in her own right.

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November 18, 2018

2.09 – All Around and Away They Go

Year(s) Discussed: 1797-1799 As the events of the Haitian Revolution start to involve the US and the Army works to secure control of the Mississippi Territory from the Spanish, Adams and the Federalists work to determine a response to the XYZ Affair. However, as their power begins to consolidate, some in the party plot ways to use the situation to their advantage. Oh, and Adams goes to see a play!

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November 04, 2018

2.08 – Have At Thee! The Response to XYZ

Year(s) Discussed: 1797-1798 As the Adams administration learns of the XYZ Affair and the President works to determine his next course of action, partisan bickering devolves to a fight on the floor of the House of Representatives while back in Paris, divisions start to form between the special envoys as Talleyrand increases his pressure on one of their number.

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October 21, 2018

2.07 – One Hand Washes the Other: The XYZ Affair

Year(s) Discussed: 1797-1798 The three commissioners sent by Adams arrive in France to begin negotiations but find themselves beset with new characters and new circumstances following French victories in the field and a coup in the government. One figure in particular stands between the envoys and peace, and he’ll gladly get out of the way…if, of course, the Americans are willing to pay.

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October 07, 2018

2.06 – Scandals and Observations

Year(s) Discussed: 1792-1797 Adams is joined in Philadelphia by his wife Abigail as he tries to balance war and peace with the first of the original six frigates of the US Navy being launched around the time that he appoints peace commissioners to France. Meanwhile, the US Senate is rocked by a scandal involving one of its leaders while news of Hamilton’s extramarital affair becomes public.

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September 23, 2018

2.05 – Et Tu, France?

Year(s) Discussed: 1796-1797 News arrives in Philadelphia of the French government refusing to accept Charles Cotesworth Pinckney as the US Minister to France, and various individuals both inside and outside the Adams administration spring into action to try to gain control of US foreign policy. Meanwhile, Adams works to cultivate sources independent of the State Department to keep him informed of affairs in Europe, and forces conspire to launch an attack on one of the leading figures of the American political landscape.

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September 09, 2018

2.04 – Hither and Yon: The News From Abroad

Year(s) Discussed: 1783-1797 In this episode, we get caught up on the international situation around the time of Adams’s inauguration and the various issues that conditions beyond its borders bring up for the United States. Britain is faced with attacks from both at home and abroad. The French Directory stumbles along as two leaders arise. Toussaint L’Ouverture contemplates the future of Saint-Domingue. Various European powers conspire to threaten American sovereignty west of the Appalachians.

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August 26, 2018

2.03 – The New Sheriff in Town

Year(s) Discussed: 1796-1797 The election of 1796 results in John Adams becoming the nation’s second chief executive, but he quickly finds more questions than answers awaiting him on the path to taking the oath of office. Adams is immediately faced with the need to make decisions about who to keep from the previous administration, what if any policy changes to make, and even where he and his family will live. It’s a transition unlike any other in American history to that point, and with various pressing issues waiting on the desk, the honeymoon for the new President promised to be short-lived.

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July 22, 2018

2.02 – Adams Pre-Presidency Part Two

Year(s) Discussed: 1773-1797 As the Revolution against Great Britain kicks off, John Adams assumes office in the Continental Congress where he makes a name for himself with individuals from the various colonies before being sent to represent the United States in Europe. While dealing with family matters and tensions with new colleagues and contemporaries, Adams navigates through challenging diplomatic waters before finally landing in the Vice Presidency then being elected to succeed George Washington as chief executive.

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July 04, 2018

2.01 – Adams Pre-Presidency

Year(s) Discussed: 1638-1772 A new series starts here! From his beginnings on a farm in Braintree, Massachusetts, John Adams set off on a path of learning that would take him through Harvard College and into the practice of law. During his quest for fame and adequate fortune, he would wed his “Dearest Friend,” Abigail Smith, and start a family while getting swept up in larger movements that would change the British North American colonies and the world forever.

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