John Adams

2nd President of the United States

1797-1801
Federalist Party

Vice President Thomas Jefferson



Born in 1735, in a portion of Braintree, Massachusetts now known as Quincy, Massachusetts, John Adams was a distinguished member of both the First and the Second Continental Congresses. He is the man most directly responsible for persuading Thomas Jefferson to be the author of the Declaration of Independence, and for ensuring the completed document's passage. For many, John Adams is the one man who more than any other persistently led a hesitant Congress of delegates from the original thirteen colonies toward the notion of full independence and a complete break from England.  He is also the man responsible for the nomination and selection of George Washington as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. During and following the war, Adams served as a diplomat for the new nation in Europe, and he was elected as the nation's first vice president in 1789. As vice president he was the first to cast a tie breaking vote in the Senate. While he attempted to actively preside over the Senate, his only constitutionally assigned duty other than succession, he found the vice presidency to be "the most insignificant office that was ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived."

With the inauguration of John Adams as the nation's second president, the peaceful transition of government clearly demonstrated that the new republic, where the people ruled, established in the United States Constitution was viable. As president, Adams was quickly faced with the prospect of the nation being pulled into a war involving France and England. When American vessels and seaman became threatened, Adams persuaded the Congress to establish the Navy. The nation was divided regarding both American involvement in the war, and as to how Adams managed to avoid American participation in it, and in the election of 1800, the issue cost Adams his reelection.

John Adams, America's longest living president, died of debility, on July 4, 1826, at the age of 90. He is buried at the First United Church in Quincy, Massachusetts.  Consistent with his lifetime of service to his country, the last words from John Adams are recorded to have been, "Jefferson still survives," referring to his fellow patriot, Thomas Jefferson . Adams did not know that Jefferson himself had died only hours before. Both of these founding fathers, who each played such crucial roles in declaring and establishing American independence, died on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.


 

Date of BirthOccupationsWifeChildren
30 Oct 1735
Teacher, Lawyer
Diplomat

Abigail SmithThree boys
Two girls
Prior Military
Service
Offices Held
Before
Presidency
Electoral and Popular Votes
In 1796
Age When First
Inaugurated
NoneRepresentative Massachusetts General Court

Delegate First and Second Continental Congresses

Member Mass. Provincial Congress

Delegate Mass. Constitutional Convention

Commissioner to France

Minister to Netherlands and England

Vice President
71
Electoral Votes

Popular Vote Unknown
61
Number of States
When First
Inaugurated
Population
When First
Inaugurated
Electoral and Popular Votes
In 1800
States Admitted
to Union
While President
164,883,20965
Electoral Votes

Defeated

Popular Vote Unknown
None
Offices Held
After
Presidency
Other Main
Activities After
Presidency
President at
Time of Death
Date of Death

None


Writer


John Quincy Adams


4 July 1826

 


Q1: What historic event involving President Adams took place on November 1, 1800?
And the answer is...

Q2: What parental distinction do John Adams and George H.W. Bush share? And the answer is...

Q3: John Adams was the first college educated man to become president. From what college did he graduate? And the answer is...

Q4: John Adams was one of only two presidents to have also signed the Declaration of Independence. Who was the other? And the answer is...



WWW Links Regarding Our Second President
 
 


Go to the page for John Adams maintained by the
White House Historical Association.



Go to the page for the Adams National Historic Site maintained by the National Park Service  and begin to plan your trip to Quincy, Massachusetts (formerly part of Braintree, Massachusetts). 

 

 

This truly historic site includes both the birthplace home of John Adams, which is depicted in the 2008 photograph to the right, and across the yard ...

... the home where John and his wife Abigail first lived together and began their family.  Here in this home is the birthplace of their son John Quincy Adams, who would later become our 6th President. The home is also where Abigail Adams struggled to keep the family together as John Adams was off in constant service to his nation during the Revolutionary War.  Not far from this home, Abigail and young John Quincy Adams listened to the roar and watched the glow of cannon fire from the British Navy during their attack on the Boston area during the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Additionally, the Adams National Historic Site also includes the home John Adams named "Peace Field," which would ultimately house four generations of the Adams family.  Anyone who has had the opportunity to visit either Mount Vernon, the home of President Washington, or Monticello, the home of President Jefferson and who has not yet visited the Adams National Historic Site are in for a treat on par with these great American history destinations. Peace Field is furnished with an amazing array of original artifacts and is a true national treasure. 

The United First Parish Church is located within walking distance of the National Park Service's Adams Historic Site Visitor Center.  The current church structure itself was built with funds donated by John Adams. 

The crypt below the church is the final resting place for President John Adams, Abigail Adams, President John Quincy Adams and Louisa Catherine Adams. 

 

 

May these true patriots always rest in peace and know they continue to hold the thanks of a grateful nation.

 


The PBS television program The American Experience has provided engaging documentaries on America's presidents in their appropriately named series "The Presidents." See their page on John Adams and learn more about America's second president. 


 

Also on The American Experience, PBS provides a mini-site on their 2006 docu-drama "John & Abigail Adams ." 


 

 


 

 

In 2008, HBO Films released on the HBO networks the highly-acclaimed seven-part mini-series, John Adams , which was based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling biography of the same title by the reknowned biographer David McCullough. 


 


Read the Inaugural Addresses of each of our presidents by going to the site maintained by the Bartleby Library .

Return to the Chief Executive Club Main Page for fast facts and more about our other presidents.

1998,2000,2009 Thomas J. Lemmer

(This page was last edited on January 30, 2009 by Thomas J. Lemmer)