John Adams facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
|2nd President of the United States
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
|1st Vice President of the United States
April 21, 1789 – March 4, 1797
|United States Minister to the Court of St. James's
April 1, 1785 – March 30, 1788
|Congress of the Confederation
|United States Minister to the Netherlands
April 19, 1782 – March 30, 1788
|Congress of the Confederation
|Delegate to the
Second Continental Congress
May 10, 1775 – June 27, 1778
|Delegate to the
First Continental Congress
from Massachusetts Bay
September 5, 1774 – October 26, 1774
October 30, 1735
Braintree, Massachusetts, U.S.
|July 4, 1826
|United First Parish Church
John Adams, Jr. (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was the second President of the United States (1797–1801) and father of the sixth President, John Quincy Adams. He was also the first Vice President of the United States (1789–1797).
Adams wanted the Thirteen Colonies to be free from Great Britain. However, Adams was fair and thought every person should be treated fairly. Even though he did not want British soldiers in Boston, he was the lawyer who defended the British soldiers who were involved in the Boston Massacre.
Adams was a representative from Massachusetts during the Second Continental Congress. He helped Thomas Jefferson write the United States Declaration of Independence. During the American Revolutionary War, Adams helped make peace with Great Britain. He served in France, the Netherlands, and England as an ambassador in the 1780s.
Adams was the first vice president under George Washington. After Washington chose not to run again, Adams won the 1796 election. Adams is thought to have been the first president to belong to a political party, but like George Washington, he thought himself above any particular party. He ran for president on the Federalist ticket. He beat Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party. Presidential candidates and vice-presidential candidates did not run together like they do today. Since Jefferson got the second-highest number of votes, he became vice president.
During his term, he resolved a conflict against France peacefully. He also passed the Alien and Sedition Acts which made it illegal to say bad things about the government. Many people did not like those acts because they felt they took away their freedom of speech. Adams was not re-elected president and lost to Thomas Jefferson. The Federalist Party was not as popular as it was when Adams was elected. One of his last acts as president was to make John Marshall the Chief Justice of the United States. This made sure that the Federalist Party would still be important.
Of the first five U.S. presidents, Adams was the only one who did not own slaves. He was also the only one to be from New England.
John Adams quotes
- "From all that I had read of History and Government, of human Life and manners, I had drawn this Conclusion, that the manners of Women were the most infallible Barometer, to ascertain the degree of morality and virtue in a nation. The Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Swiss, the Dutch, all lost their public Spirit, their Republican Principles and habits, and their Republican Forms of Government, when they lost the Modesty and Domestic Virtues of their Women."
- “If conscience disapproves, the loudest applauses of the world are of little value.”
- “Defeat appears to me preferable to total inaction.”
- “Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”
- “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.”
Interesting facts about John Adams
- John Adams went to Harvard University and became a fair lawyer.
- He represented Massachusetts during the Second Continental Congress.
- John Adams helped Thomas Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence.
- John Adams was the first Vice President of the United States.
- He was elected to be the second President of the United States, winning against Thomas Jefferson.
- When Adams chose to run again, he lost to Thomas Jefferson.
- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day - July 4, 1826 - on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
- John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, was the son of John and Abigail Adams.
Adams strongly felt that he would be forgotten and underappreciated by history. Because of that, he sometimes envied and verbally attacked other Founders. Historian Edmund Morgan argues, "Adams was ridiculously vain, absurdly jealous, embarrassingly hungry for compliments. But no man ever served his country more selflessly."
Historian George Herring argues that Adams was the most independent-minded of the Founders. He was often described as "prickly". Stubbornness was seen as one of his defining traits. Most historians applaud him for avoiding an all-out war with France during his presidency. His signing of the Alien and Sedition Acts is almost always condemned.
In the 21st century, Adams remains less well known than many of America's other Founding Fathers, in accordance with his predictions.
In 2001, David McCullough published a biography of the president entitled John Adams. In 2008, a miniseries was released based on the McCullough biography, featuring Paul Giamatti as Adams.
Adams is commemorated as the namesake of various counties, buildings, and other items. One example is the John Adams Building of the Library of Congress, an institution whose existence Adams had signed into law.
While Adams is honored on the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence in Washington D.C., he does not have an individual monument dedicated to him in the city. Although a family inclusive Adams Memorial was authorized in 2001, it awaits funding.
Images for kids
Adams's birthplace now in Quincy, Massachusetts
The Assembly Room in Philadelphia's Independence Hall, where the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence
Adams frequently clashed with Benjamin Franklin over how to manage French relations.
Treaty of Paris by Benjamin West (Adams in front).
Adams – 1785 Mather Brown Portrait
Portrait of Adams by John Trumbull, 1793
Portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, 1795. Washington rarely consulted Vice President Adams, who often felt marginalized and overshadowed by Washington's prestige.
Tombs of John and Abigail Adams (far) and John Quincy and Louisa Adams (near), in family crypt at United First Parish Church
In Spanish: John Adams para niños
John Adams Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.