John Adams

John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer. He served as the 2nd president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before becoming president, he was the 1st vice president under George Washington from 1789 to 1797. He was also the one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

John Adams
Stout elderly Adams in his 60s with long white hair, facing partway leftward
Portrait c. 1800–1815
2nd President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
Vice PresidentThomas Jefferson
Preceded byGeorge Washington
Succeeded byThomas Jefferson
1st Vice President of the United States
In office
April 21, 1789 – March 4, 1797
PresidentGeorge Washington
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byThomas Jefferson
1st United States Minister to Great Britain
In office
April 1, 1785 – February 20, 1788[1]
Appointed byCongress of the Confederation
Succeeded byThomas Pinckney
1st United States Minister to the Netherlands
In office
April 19, 1782 – March 30, 1788[1]
Appointed byCongress of the Confederation
Succeeded byCharles W. F. Dumas (acting)
United States Envoy to France
In office
November 28, 1777[2][3] – March 8, 1779
Preceded bySilas Deane
Succeeded byBenjamin Franklin
Chairman of the Marine Committee
In office
October 13, 1775 – October 28, 1779
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byFrancis Lewis (Continental Board of Admiralty)
12th Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature
In office
October 1775 – February 1777
Appointed byProvincial Congress
Preceded byPeter Oliver
Succeeded byWilliam Cushing
Delegate from Massachusetts Template:Awrap
In office
September 5, 1774 – November 28, 1777
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded bySamuel Holten
Personal details
BornOctober 30, 1735 [O.S. October 19, 1735]
Braintree, Massachusetts Bay, British America (now Quincy)
DiedJuly 4, 1826(1826-07-04) (aged 90)
Quincy, Massachusetts, U.S.
Resting placeUnited First Parish Church
Political party
Abigail Smith
(m. 1764; died 1818)
Children6, including Abigail, John Quincy, Charles, and Thomas
EducationHarvard College (AB, AM)
  • politician
  • lawyer
SignatureCursive signature in ink

Adams was a leader of the American Revolution that gained independence from Great Britain. During the Revolutionary War, he served the U.S. government as a senior diplomat in Europe.

Early life

Adams was born in Braintree, Massachusetts. He was the son of Lt. Col. John Adams, Sr. (1691-1761) and Susanna Boylston (1708-1797), and he was the cousin of the philosopher and fellow Founding Father Samuel Adams. He went to Harvard College. He married Abigail Adams in 1764.

American Revolutionary War years

Adams wanted the Thirteen Colonies to be free from Great Britain. However, Adams was fair and thought every person should be treated fairly. Even though he did not want British soldiers in Boston, he was the lawyer who defended the British soldiers who were involved in the Boston Massacre.[5]

Adams was a representative from Massachusetts during the Second Continental Congress. He helped Thomas Jefferson write the United States Declaration of Independence. During the American Revolutionary War, Adams helped make peace with Great Britain. He served in France, the Netherlands and England as an ambassador in the 1780s.

Vice President

Adams in 1792

Adams was the first vice president under George Washington. After Washington chose not to run again, Adams won the 1796 election. Adams is thought to have been the first president to belong to a political party, but like George Washington, he thought himself above any particular party. He ran for president on the Federalist ticket. He beat Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party. President candidates and vice president candidates did not run together like they do today. Since Jefferson got the second-highest number of votes, he became vice president.


During his term, he resolved a conflict against France peacefully. He also passed the Alien and Sedition Acts which made it illegal to say bad things about the government. Many people did not like those acts because they felt it took away their freedom of speech. Adams was not re-elected president and lost to Thomas Jefferson. The Federalist Party was not as popular as it was when Adams was elected. One of his last acts as president was to make John Marshall the Chief Justice of the United States. This made sure that the Federalist Party would still be important.

Of the first five U.S. presidents, Adams was the only one who did not own slaves. He was also the only one to be from New England.


Adams died on July 4, 1826 of Heart Failure. This was the same day that Thomas Jefferson died, and was also exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. At 90, John Adams was the longest lived president of the United States until Ronald Reagan surpassed him in October 2001. John Adams was also a longest lived Vice President of the United States until Levi P. Morton surpassed him in 1915 and later by John Nance Garner in 1959.

John Adams Media


  1. 1.0 1.1 "John Adams (1735–1826)". United States Department of State: Office of the Historian. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  2. "To John Adams from Daniel Roberdeau, 28 November 1777". Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Retrieved May 10, 2020. I congratulate you or rather my Country in the choice of you this day as a Commissioner to France for the united States, in lieu of Mr. Dean who is recalled.
  3. United States. Continental Congress; Ford, Worthington Chauncey; Hunt, Gaillard; Fitzpatrick, John Clement; Hill, Roscoe R.; Harris, Kenneth E.; Tilley, Steven D.; Library of Congress. Manuscript Division (1904). Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. University of California Libraries. Washington: U.S. Govt. print off. p. 975. Retrieved May 10, 2020. Congress proceeded to the election of a commissioner to the Court of France in the room of S. Deane, Esqr. and, the ballots being taken, John Adams, a delegate in Congress from Massachusetts bay, was elected.
  4. McCullough 2001, p. 599.
  5. "Key Figures in the Boston Massacre Trial". Archived from the original on January 27, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2010.

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