AP US History Period 3: Adams and Alien and Sedition Acts

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In this one to two-day lesson, students, working in groups, will analyze primary and secondary sources that delve into the domestic and foreign policies of President Adams. The first group will examine a secondary source that discusses the growing tension between the United States and France and President Adams’ response to such a threat. The second group will analyze the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment, the purpose behind the creation of such an amendment, and in effect, how these rights were curbed under Adams’ administration in a time of heightened security. The third group will study the Alien Acts of 1798 and the increased powers that were granted to the President of the United States to protect the nation’s security. The fourth group will analyze the Naturalization Act of 1798 and how this law changed the qualifications of becoming a United States citizen. The group will realize, from their analysis, that such changes were made to protect the rights of American citizens in a time of increasing fears of foreigners. The fifth group will delve into the Sedition Acts of 1798 and its effect on relations within the United States. The sixth group will analyze the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, the reasons behind the passage of such laws, and the ramifications of such proposals. The seventh group will evaluate a political cartoon and the underlying message found within this artwork. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to answer the essential question: “Did the Alien and Sedition Acts under President Adams violate the First Amendment rights of Americans? Explain.”
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Teaching Duration
2 Days

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AP US History Period 3:  Adams and Alien and Sedition Acts
AP US History Period 3:  Adams and Alien and Sedition Acts
AP US History Period 3:  Adams and Alien and Sedition Acts
AP US History Period 3:  Adams and Alien and Sedition Acts