POTUS: Presidents of the United States

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Portrait, John Adams

John Adams

2nd President of the United States
(March 4, 1797 to March 3, 1801)

Nickname: "Atlas of Independence"

Born: October 30, 1735, in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts
Died: July 4, 1826, in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts

Father: John Adams
Mother: Susanna Boylston Adams
Married: Abigail Smith (1744-1818), on October 25, 1764
Children: Abigail Amelia Adams (1765-1813); tiny U.S. flag John Quincy Adams (1767-1848); Susanna Adams (1768-70); Charles Adams (1770-1800); Thomas Boylston Adams (1772-1832)

Religion: Unitarian
Education: Graduated from Harvard College (1755)
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Federalist
Other Government Positions:

  • Member of Continental Congress, 1774-78
  • Commissioner to France, 1778
  • Minister to the Netherlands, 1780
  • Minister to England, 1785
  • Vice President, 1789-97 (under tiny U.S. flag Washington)

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year

Presidential Election Results:
Year Electoral Votes
1789 tiny U.S. flag George Washington 69
John Adams 34
John Jay 9
R. H. Harrison 6
John Rutledge 6
John Hancock 4
George Clinton 3
Samuel Huntington 2
John Milton 2
James Armstrong 1
Benjamin Lincoln 1
Edward Telfair 1
(Votes Not Cast) 12
1792 tiny U.S. flag George Washington 132
John Adams 77
George Clinton 50
tiny U.S. flag Thomas Jefferson 4
Aaron Burr 1
1796 John Adams 71
tiny U.S. flag Thomas Jefferson 68
Thomas Pinckney 59
Aaron Burr 30
Samuel Adams 15
Oliver Ellsworth 11
George Clinton 7
John Jay 5
James Iredell 3
tiny U.S. flag George Washington 2
John Henry 2
S. Johnston 2
Charles C. Pinckney 1
1800 tiny U.S. flag Thomas Jefferson 73
Aaron Burr 73
John Adams 65
Charles C. Pinckney 64
John Jay 1

Vice President: tiny U.S. flag Thomas Jefferson (1797-1801)

Cabinet:

Secretary of State
Timothy Pickering (1797-1800)
John Marshall (1800-01)
Secretary of the Treasury
Oliver Wolcott, Jr. (1797-1801)
Samuel Dexter (1801)
Secretary of War
James McHenry (1797-1800)
Samuel Dexter (1800-01)
Attorney General
Charles Lee (1797-1801)
Secretary of the Navy
Benjamin Stoddert (1798-1801)

Supreme Court Appointments:

Chief Justice
John Marshall (1801-35)
Associate Justice
Bushrod Washington (1799-1829)
Alfred Moore (1800-04)

Notable Events:

  • 1796
    • E Pluribus Unum: "Out of Many, One"; added to American coins.
  • 1797
    • Three anonymous French trouble makers brought France and the U.S. to the brink of war in what became known as the XYZ Affair.
  • 1798
    • Federalists support the highly unpopular Alien and Sedition Acts. They would later be repealed.
  • 1800
    • U.S. capital relocated to Washington, D.C. from Philadelphia.
    • tiny U.S. flag Jefferson defeated Adams.
    • Congress established Library of Congress.

Internet Biographies:

John Adams -- from The Presidents of the United States of America
Compiled by the White House.
John Adams -- from American Presidents: Life Portraits -- C-SPAN
Biographical information, trivia, key events, video, and other reference materials. Website created to accompany C-SPAN's 20th Anniversary Television Series, American Presidents: Life Portraits.
John Adams -- from The American President
From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
Biography of John Adams -- from From Revolution to Reconstruction
Biography written by Jim Liesenfelt for this American Revolution HTML project. Still under construction, but does contain some original material.

Historical Documents:

Novanglus (1775)
Inaugural Address (1797)
XYZ Affair (1797)
Thoughts on Government

Other Internet Resources:

Adams National Historical Site
The birthplace of John Adams and other notable Americans. From the National Park Service.
John Adams Building
Inscriptions and quotations in the John Adams Building of the Library of Congress. Photographs of this building of the Library of Congress are included.

Points of Interest:

  • The Adams' were the first residents of the White House. They moved in in November 1800 while the paint was still wet. Mrs. Adams would hang her laundry in the East Room to dry.
  • Adams was one of three presidents not to attend the inauguration of his successor. Not only was Adams disappointed in losing to tiny U.S. flag Jefferson, he was also grieving the death of his son Charles.
  • Adams was the great-great-grandson of John and Priscilla Alden, Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
  • The only presidents to sign the Declaration of Independence Adams and tiny U.S. flag Jefferson both died on its 50th anniversary, July 4, 1826. Adams' dying words were "Thomas Jefferson survives". Jefferson, however, had passed on a few hours earlier.

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