John Adams once said, "I am but an ordinary Man. The Times alone have destined me to Fame "and even these have not been able to give me, much. Yet some great Events, some cutting Expressions, some mean Hypocrisies, have at Times, thrown this Assemblage of Sloth, Sleep, and littleness into Rage a little like a Lion."" John Adams was the second President of the United States and won popularity by the exposure of the scandal known as the XYZ Affair. Adams was honored for exposing the dishonesty and corruption of the French officials. "The XYZ affair was a low point in relations between France and the United States and almost brought the two nations close to war- (Otto).
In the year 1798, the French were pleading with the Americans to disapprove Jay's Treaty. "In the eyes of the French government, the United States had not kept its agreement with France, and they refused to receive the American minister, Charles C. Pinchney- (Otto). Jay's Treaty consisted of resolving the differences between England and the United States, and in retaliation had stepped up its harassment of American shipping. John Adams made an effort to negotiate a treaty of commerce and friendship with France in 1797-1798. .
John Adams sent, John Marshall and Elbridge Gerry to join Pinckney on a peace mission to France. "This three-man commission was immediately confronted by the refusal of French foreign minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand to receive it officially- (Kurtz 45). Negotiations were carried on with Jean Conrad Hottinguer and Lucien Hauteval, both Swiss, and a Mr. Bellamy, an American banker in Hamburg; the three were designated X, Y, and Z in the mission's dispatches to the United States. Adams produced political papers recording the French demands replacing X, Y, and Z for the names of the French agents which is where the historic name XYZ affair comes from.
"Further debate on ways to calm the French stopped, and Congress quickly focused on finding a way to defend American ships at sea- (Craig).