Although John Adams served a single term as president of the United States, as a lawyer, political theorist, and statesman, he played a major role in shaping American views of crime and punishment. Adams's career as an attorney made him a strong believer in the rights of criminal defendants and in the importance that any accused individual receive adequate counsel. As president, Adams's support for the Federalist legislation that became known as the Alien and Sedition Acts opened him to tremendous criticism by contemporaries, and later ...

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