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Synopsis

Abandoned by Jefferson for retaining Washington's cabinet, President Adams holds firm on keeping the nation out of war, despite French aggression and pro-war sentiment among his advisors. Abigail urges him to sign the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts, seeing them as a way to preserve domestic security. Meanwhile, Adams faces a crisis at home when he disowns his alcoholic son Charles; when Charles later dies, Abigail pleads to Adams to make peace with their son's memory, but Adams refuses, and a disappointed Abigail returns to Braintree. The president is vindicated in the French crisis after the new Secretary of State, John Marshall, brokers a peace with Napoleon I, but Adams fails to win a second term as Jefferson claims the presidency in a run-off with Aaron Burr. Drained by politics and family tragedy, Adams exits the new capital, Washington City, having only recently moved in to the still-unfinished White House.

John Adams reads letter

6: Unnecessary War

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Photos Charles Adams speaks to John Quincy Adams and Sally Smith Adams

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