John Adams got the biggest vote next to Washington's, and was elected the first vice-president of the United States. At this time, Adams was fifty- three years old. He was a courteous man in his speech, and very polished in his manner. But he was irritable, and was also called "imperious"-that is, he liked to have his own way, and thought his opinion was better than anyone else's. This did not win him a great many friends, though he was admired for his courage and ability. Washington remained president for two terms, and both times Adams was vice-president. In 1797, when Washington decided he did not want a third term, John Adams got the most votes and was elected president, and Thomas Jefferson got next to the most votes and was elected vice-president. As president, John Adams had a stormy time. It was a difficult period, and tempers were running high.The French Revolution was under way, and all the kings of Europe were afraid for their crowns, fearing that the revolution would spread to their countries. In the United States, there was argument as to whether the rich people only, or all the people, rich and poor alike, should rule the country. The most tactful of presidents would have had trouble keeping everyone satisfied. John Adams, with his habit of being outspoken and courageous in the face of possible unpopularity, was sure to make enemies-and he did.Adams had never approved of the French Revolution. He thought it went too far, especially when the revolutionists there killed the French king and queen. The American government, he believed, should have titles of nobility, such as were used in European countries, and it should have a senate made up of "the aristocracy"-that is, the families that were richest and most prominent. This idea was unpopular with the majority of Americans, and Adams was ac cused even of favoring the establishment of a king in the United States, though this was not so. Then came the "XYZ Affair." The revolutionary government of France was doing a great many things that seemed unfriendly to the United States. American ships were being captured on the high seas by French privateers (that is, pirates acting with the consent of their government), and the French government would not stop them. Some private representatives of the French government proposed that the United States should pay a large amount of money, perhaps $250,000, to have the attacks stopped.The French representatives who made this proposal refused to sign their names, and used only initials; that is why they were called X, Y and Z, and the whole thing was called the XYZ Affair. The American people were greatly angered by this. Their slogan was, "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." Many of them wanted to go to war against France if necessary. But President Adams was unwilling to risk another war. All this happened in 1797 and 179H, the first year that Adams was president, and it made him very unpopular. The Alien and Sedition Acts also hurt his popularity. Under these laws, passed by Congress, foreign-born persons, or those who criticized the government, could be arrested and punished.This violated rights that had been guaranteed to the people by the Constitution. The Alien and Sedition Laws were so hated by Americans that they did not last very long, but people did not soon forget that Adams had been in favor of them. Thomas Jefferson, who liked the most republican form of government, with no king and no nobility, and who opposed the Alien and Sedition Laws, became the country's most popular man. When John Adams ran for re-election as president in 1800, Jefferson beat him easily.