6 The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Threats to the First Amendment

There is in these States a faction, a numerous and desperate faction, resolved on the overthrow of the Federal Government; and the man who will not allow that there is danger to be apprehended, is either too great a fool to perceive it, or too great a coward to encounter it.

—Porcupine’s Gazette, 1799

BY MID-1798 THE FEDERALISTS AND JOHN ADAMS’S ADMINISTRAtion had reached the high-water mark of their popularity. Bathed in the glow of the XYZ Affair and the enthusiastic support that incident created, the Hamiltonians and the supporters of John Adams combined to pursue a plan that, considered in its entirety, appeared threatening to anyone who opposed a consolidation of ...

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