This might be a loaded ask, but... What on earth started John Adams' hatred of Hamilton? Why did he dislike him so much that he basically made it his life's mission to do so in every way?
I made a post a couple weeks ago where I stated I think the Adams-Hamilton feud was the result of three things: personality conflict, political differences, and culture clash rooted in xenophobia (in that post I discussed Adams’s hangups about Hamilton’s being a Scotch West Indian). So let’s discuss some of the former.
Let’s start with the political. In actuality, Hamilton and Adams had a lot of political beliefs in common, though Adams was more of a moderate Federalist and Hamilton the leader of the High Federalists. Both believed in a strong centralized government and were wary of France. But there were some key differences: Adams did not trust banking systems, whereas Hamilton obviously wanted to consolidate the state banks into a centralized banking system that answered to the federal government. Hamilton believed a standing army was becoming necessary to combat European forces in the West, but Adams believe a strong Navy would keep them at bey.
But what really caused the political conflict started when, after Washington stepped down after two terms, it came up for a vote for who would take his place. Adams, naturally, thought as having been vice-president, he was the natural choice. Hamilton wanted someone more along High Federalist values, and so lobbied for Thomas Pinckney: in Hamilton’s ideal world, he wanted Pinckney as president and Adams back as vice-president (and he did the thing period to keep Jefferson from being either, remember this is when the person with the second highest votes became VP). Obviously it didn’t work, with Adams becoming president and Jefferson his VP. But Adams never forgot and never forgave Hamilton was his meddling - nor would the Republicans let him.
During Adams’s presidency, he inherited Washington’s Cabinet and didn’t make any changes. The Cabinet members, being High Federalists, increasingly started going to Hamilton for his opinions on matters. This, understandably, upset Adams, tho he never actually cleaned out his Cabinet until it was too late. Then he and Hamilton got into an ugly mess with regards to the army being built after the XYZ Affair and the Quasi-War - after making Hamilton the second-in-command, Adams began pushing for peace with France, which upset Hamilton who suspected France was just going to fake peace with America and then later use its connections via its allyship with Spain and land in North America to launch an attack. Adams got his peace (and Jefferson lucked out when France did begin sending troops to the New World) and disbanded the army. That, coupled with a lot of nasty personal remarks leveled at Hamilton made the latter issue an affair of honor against the POTUS, which Adams understandably ignored, and then that pushed Hamilton to release the infamous Adams Pamphlet.
Then the Election of 1800 happens, and since it obviously worked so well the first time, Hamilton pushed the Federalists to vote for Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and withhold enough votes from Adams to make him the VP again. Many factors ended up getting the Republicans elected (the biggest ones being the 3/5ths Clause, and Cotesworth Pinckney’s cousin Charles Pinckney straight-up bribing South Carolina electors to vote for Jefferson and Burr) but Hamilton got the blame and Adams never forgave him for his loss of a second term.
With regards to the personality conflict: Adams was an older statesmen, had been part of the Revolution since Massachusetts started the thing, and so believed he was due a degree of deference he frequently didn’t feel he was getting. He was utterly appalled by what he felt was the lack of respect he was getting from Washington’s administration, being stuck in the Senate where people wouldn’t listen to him. But then Washington’s listening to Hamilton, this young “upstart” in Adams’s view, giving him responsibilities and seeking out his counsel. This was a problem when Adams became president. Hamilton was used to having older statesmen seek out and agree with his opinions, but Adams found this aspect of Hamilton insolent. Hamilton found Adams’s snubbing of him, that he wasn’t grateful for his opinions, to be degrading.
They were also both really bad at compromising when they believed themselves to be in the right opinion, they were both extraordinarily indiscreet, very vain, and both seemed to have a sort of “fuck this I’m going to blow this mother up” mentality when things got to their boiling points rather than keep level headed.
Now had they both sat down and actually got it all out with one another, I think things might have turned out for the better. But Adams always aimed his hatred of Hamilton to anyone who wasn’t Hamilton, meaning Hamilton was getting all of this info from his friends who were telling him that Adams was saying all of these terrible things about him (that he’s an agent of the British, constant snipes at his illegitimacy, etc.) that Adams would refuse to admit or source; Adams had been much the same with Benjamin Franklin. Which was a bit of a core difference: Hamilton’s hypersensitivity made him start issuing challenges when he was insulted; Adams stewed on abuse for years before confronting it via a third party (he didn’t respond to Hamilton’s pamphlet against him until nine years later, five years after Hamilton’s death when Hamilton couldn’t counter).
There was also things about Hamilton that Adams just found morally repugnant. He, of course, found his adultery to be a sign of weak character, tho later used this as an excuse to believe the worst in Hamilton whenever he heard - or made - an amorous story about him (Timothy Pickering said Adams collected such stories obsessively). He also had huge hangups about Hamilton’s illegitimacy, basically believing that good fathers produced good sons, and because Hamilton was born a bastard, he was exempt from ever being capable of good character.
Tbh it’s really tragic that Adams and Hamilton just constantly assumed the worst of each other because if they had been capable of working together, things nationwide might have had better outcomes in the long run.