Us navy 031029 n 6236g 001 a painting of president john adams (1735 1826), 2nd president of the united states, by asher b. durand (1767 1845) crop
Us navy 031029 n 6236g 001 a painting of president john adams (1735 1826), 2nd president of the united states, by asher b. durand (1767 1845) crop
John Adams
(1735-1826)

Died aged c. 91

John Adams (October 30 [O.S. October 19] 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American lawyer, author, statesman, and diplomat. He served as the second President of the United States (1797–1801) and the first Vice President (1789–97) and, as a Founding Father, he was a leader of American independence from Great Britain. Adams was a political theorist in the Age of Enlightenment who promoted republicanism and a strong central government. His innovative ideas were frequently published. He was also a dedicated diarist and correspondent, particularly with his wife and key advisor Abigail. He collaborated with his cousin, revolutionary leader Samuel Adams, but he established his own prominence prior to the American Revolution. After the Boston Massacre, he provided a successful (though unpopular) legal defense of the accused British soldiers, in the face of severe local anti-British sentiment and driven by his devotion to the right to counsel and the "protect[ion] of innocence". Adams was a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, where he played a leading role in persuading Congress to declare independence. He assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and was its foremost advocate in the Congress. As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain, and acquired vital governmental loans from Amsterdam bankers. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780 which influenced American political theory, as did his earlier Thoughts on Government (1776). Adams' credentials as a revolutionary secured for him two terms as President George Washington's vice president (1789 to 1797) and also his own election in 1796 as the second president. In his single term as president, he encountered fierce criticism from the Jeffersonian Republicans, as well as the dominant faction in his own Federalist Party, led by his rival Alexander Hamilton. Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts, and built up the army and navy in the face of an undeclared naval "Quasi-War" with France. The major accomplishment of his presidency was a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the face of Hamilton's opposition. Due to his strong posture on defense, Adams is "often called the father of the American Navy". He was the first U.S. president to reside in the executive mansion, now known as the White House. In 1800, Adams lost re-election to Thomas Jefferson and retired to Massachusetts. He eventually resumed his friendship with Jefferson upon the latter's own retirement by initiating a correspondence which lasted fourteen years. He and his wife established a family of politicians, diplomats, and historians now referred to as the Adams political family. Adams was the father of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. He died on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Modern historians in the aggregate have favorably ranked his administration.

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Commemorated on 8 plaques

Photo of John Adams, Abigail Adams, and Abigail Adams bronze plaque
Spudgun67 on Wikimedia Commons
Photo of John Adams and George Washington bronze plaque
Wally Gobetz on Flickr
Photo of John Adams white plaque
Jez Nicholson on Flickr
Photo of Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, David Hartley, and John Adams marble plaque
Monceau on Flickr