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John Adams
2nd U.S. President
John Adams, Jr. was an American lawyer, author, statesman, and diplomat. He served as the second President of the United States, the first Vice President, and as a Founding Father was a leader of American independence from Great Britain.
Born: October 30, 1735, Braintree, MA
Died: July 4, 1826, Quincy, MA
Vice President: Thomas Jefferson (1797–1801)
Predecessor: George Washington
Presidential term: March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
Children: John Quincy Adams, Abigail Adams Smith, Charles Adams, Thomas Boylston Adams, Susanna Adams

John Adams was a Founding Father, the first vice president of the United States and the second president. His son, John Quincy Adams, was the nation's sixth president.

John Adams was born on October 30, 1735, in Quincy, Massachusetts. He was a direct descendant of Puritan colonists from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He studied at Harvard University, where he received his undergraduate degree and master's, and in 1758 was admitted to the bar. In 1774, he served in the First Continental Congress and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. Adams became the first vice president of the United States and the second president.

Early Life
John Adams was born on October 30, 1735, in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts. His father, John Adams Sr., was a farmer, a Congregationalist deacon and a town councilman, and was a direct descendant of Henry Adams, a Puritan, who emigrated from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638. His mother, Susanna Boylston Adams, was a descendant of the Boylstons of Brookline, a prominent family in colonial Massachusetts.

Political Career
Adams quickly became identified with the patriot cause, initially as the result of his opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765. He wrote a response to the imposition of the act by British Parliament titled "Essay on the Canon and Feudal Law," which was published as a series of four articles in the Boston Gazette. In it, Adams argued that the Stamp Act deprived American colonists of the basic rights to be taxed by consent and to be tried by a jury of peers. Two months later Adams also publicly denounced the act as invalid in a speech delivered to the Massachusetts governor and his council.

The jury acquitted six of the eight soldiers while two were convicted of manslaughter. Reaction to Adams's defense of the soldiers was hostile, and his law practice suffered greatly. However, his actions later enhanced his reputation as a courageous, generous and fair man.

That same year, Adams was elected to the Massachusetts Assembly and was one of five to represent the colony at the First Continental Congress, in 1774. When Congress created the Continental Army in 1775, Adams nominated George Washington of Virginia as its commander-in-chief.

In May 1776, Congress approved Adams's resolution proposing that the colonies each adopt independent governments. He wrote the preamble to this resolution, which was approved on May 15, setting the stage for the formal passage of the Declaration of Independence. On June 7, 1776, Adams seconded Richard Henry Lee's resolution of independence and backed it passionately until it was adopted by Congress on July 2, 1776. Congress appointed Adams, along with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman, to draft the declaration. Jefferson would write the first draft, which was approved on July 4.


In 1796, Adams was elected as the Federalist nominee for president. Thomas Jefferson led the opposition to the Democratic-Republican Party. Adams won the election by a narrow margin, becoming the second president of the United States.

During Adams's presidency, a war between the French and British was causing political difficulties for the United States. Adams's administration focused its diplomatic efforts on France, whose government had suspended commercial relations. Adams sent three commissioners to France, but the French refused to negotiate unless the United States agreed to pay what amounted to a bribe. When this became public knowledge, the nation broke out for war. However, Adams did not call for a declaration of war, despite some naval hostilities.

By 1800, this undeclared war had ended, and Adams had become significantly less popular with the public. He lost his re-election campaign in 1800, with only a few less electoral votes than Thomas Jefferson, who became president.