John Adams

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Portrait, John AdamsJohn 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 Adams (1744-1818), on October 25, 1764 Children: Abigail Amelia Adams (1765-1813); tiny U.S. flagJohn 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. flagWashington)

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year

Presidential Election Results:
YearElectoral Votes
1789tiny U.S. flagGeorge Washington69
John Adams34
John Jay9
R. H. Harrison6
John Rutledge6
John Hancock4
George Clinton3
Samuel Huntington2
John Milton2
James Armstrong1
Benjamin Lincoln1
Edward Telfair1
(Votes Not Cast)12
1792tiny U.S. flagGeorge Washington132
John Adams77
George Clinton50
tiny U.S. flagThomas Jefferson4
Aaron Burr1
1796John Adams71
tiny U.S. flagThomas Jefferson68
Thomas Pinckney59
Aaron Burr30
Samuel Adams15
Oliver Ellsworth11
George Clinton7
John Jay5
James Iredell3
tiny U.S. flagGeorge Washington2
John Henry2
S. Johnston2
Charles C. Pinckney1
1800tiny U.S. flagThomas Jefferson73
Aaron Burr73
John Adams65
Charles C. Pinckney64
John Jay1

Vice President: tiny U.S. flagThomas Jefferson (1797-1801) Cabinet:

Secretary of State
Timothy Pickering (1797-1800)
John Marshall (1800-01)
Secretary of the Treasury
Oliver Wolcott, Jr. (1797-1800)
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”; is added to American coins.
  • 1797
    • Three anonymous French troublemakers bring France and the U.S. to the brink of war in what comes to be known as the XYZ Affair.
  • 1798
    • Federalists support the highly unpopular Alien and Sedition Acts. They would later be repealed.
  • 1800
    • The U.S. capital is moved to Washington, D.C. from Philadelphia.
    • tiny U.S. flagJefferson defeats Adams.
    • Congress establishes the 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 U.S. Presidents
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.

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 six presidents not to attend the inauguration of his successor. Not only was Adams disappointed in losing to tiny U.S. flagJefferson, he was also grieving the death of his son Charles.
  • President Adams was the great-great-grandson of John and Priscilla Alden, Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
  • To ensure that they received a fair trial, John Adams represented the British soldiers accused of the 1770 Boston Massacre even though he was opposed to British taxation.
  • John Adams helped negotiate (with Benjamin Franklin and John Jay), the Treaty of Paris that brought an end to the Revolutionary War.
  • The only presidents to sign the Declaration of Independence, Adams and tiny U.S. flagJefferson 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.

Previous President: tiny U.S. flagGeorge Washington | Next President: tiny U.S. flagThomas Jefferson

©1996-2008. Robert S. Summers. All rights reserved.

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