John Adams

John Adams

John Adams was one of the "Founding Fathers" of America and the second President of the United States. At the time he of his presidency, he was not very popular, but today he is recognized as one of the greatest and most patriotic of the Founding Fathers. He played an important role in the creation of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and was a strong proponent of Federalism.

John Adams was born in 1735, a native of Massachusetts. He graduated at Harvard at the age of twenty, and considered entering the ministry, but decided against it. He instead studied law and became a lawyer. He rose quickly through the ranks as a politician, and was offered, in 1763, the position of advocate-general, which he refused to accept. Drawn at first to the defence of the popular cause as a lawyer, he became one of the most intrepid leaders of the patriots. At the same time, he exhibited moderation on many important occasions. He was elected, in 1770, to the Legislature of Massachusetts, and was chosen as one of the five delegates from that State to the First Continental Congress, which assembled in Philadelphia in the autumn of 1774. He was re-elected in 1776. While a member of that body he used his pen vigorously in support and defence of the cause of the patriots, and also rendered eminent services as an orator and debater. On the 11th of June, 1776, he was appointed, with Jefferson, Franklin, Sherman, and Livingston, to prepare a declaration of independence. In the debate which followed he took a very prominent part.

Adams subsequently served as Minister to England for three years, during which time his Defence of the American Constitution appeared. He became Vice-President of the United States in 1789, and was a zealous supporter of the policy of Washington and of the principles of the Federalists. In 1796 he was nominated for the Presidency by that party, and was elected over Thomas Jefferson, the Republican candidate, who, having received the next highest number of votes, became, as the law then existed, Vice-President. He was again nominated in 1880, but this time lost to Jefferson.

--Adapted from The Dictionary of Biography by Charles Morris

Key events during the life of John Adams:

Birth of John Adams.
Graduated from Harvard.
Became a lawyer.
Elected to Legislature of Massachusetts.
Appointed to help prepare the Declaration of Independence
Sent by Congress as ambassador to France and England.
Stayed out of war with Britain and France.
  Ardent supporter of the Federalist cause, appointed their presidential candidate.
Elected president.
Took part in the war of 1812.
Died July 4, the same day as Thomas Jefferson.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
The Beginning of the U.S  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
Death of Washington  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
Adams—How He Kept Peace with France  in  This Country of Ours  by  H. E. Marshall
John Adams  in  True Stories of Our Presidents  by  Charles Morris
John Adams  in  Heroes of Progress in America  by  Charles Morris
John Adams' Administration  in  American History Stories, Volume III  by  Mara L. Pratt

Image Links

John Adams
 in True Stories of Our Presidents

Short Biography
Thomas Jefferson Third President. Author of the Declaration of Independence. Founder of Democrat-Republican Party.
George Washington Leader of the Continental Army of the U.S. during the Revolutionary War, and first President.
Alexander Hamilton Founding Father, principal author of Federalist Papers. Secretary of Treasury.
Abigail Adams Wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams.
Samuel Adams Founding Father and Governor of Massachusetts. Colonial political philosopher who built support for the revolution.