One of the first topics of discussion was whether or not the government was being too covert in its actions and was misusing its power to make laws. The Alien and Sedition acts gave the federal government the power to expel anyone from the country that was suspected of espionage or other treasonous activities. In addition, it limited the citizens rights to speak freely both publicly and in newspapers. The government was being accused of not being openly forthcoming with its actions to the public.
Following the years of the American Revolution, the British, with its superior navy, ruled the Atlantic. To put a halt to seizures of American ships, chief justice John Jay was sent to England to alleviate war. The deals signed with the British had many positive points, but were out weighed by the negative. Americans thought that they had been sold out to the enemy. Many citizens thought that the British were taking advantage of them. The Americans did not have full commercial equality among British subjects. All U.S. ports were closed to French privateers.
Among many of the shortcomings brought by Jay's treaty, the French felt betrayed by the United States. The French themselves were in a state of Revolution, and the United States had not committed themselves to aiding the fight to reconstruct the nation. Jay's treaty was viewed as an Anglo-American alliance by the new French government. Although the United States was eager to avoid war with France it also did not want to jeopardize relations with Britain.
Fisher Ames was a descendent from William Ames who immigrated to Plymouth in 1626. Third in a family of five, Ames was born in Dedham Massachusetts to Deborah and Nathaniel Ames. In mid. 1781 he became a clear supporter of Hamilton and strongly hated anything related with Jefferson. In the fall of 1787 he became an elected delegate from Dedham to the Massachusetts ratifying convention.