“May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.” (The White House)
John Adams was known as the Father of American Independence. Born October 30, 1735 in Braintree, Massachusetts, he grew up on a small farm where he enjoyed kites, hunting, marbles, books, and toy boats. As a child, Adams attended a small school and later went to Harvard University. He became a lawyer and was very intelligent. John Adams served two terms as George Washington’s vice president, a role he found boring. He became the second president of the United States in 1797 and served only one term.
- John Adams was a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses. He urged the colonists to become independent from Great Britain.
- Adams traveled overseas frequently. During the war, he visited Europe many times seeking help and money from European countries.
- John Adams helped write the peace treaty that ended the Revolutionary War.
- John Adams won the presidential election by only three votes. His opponent, Thomas Jefferson, became vice president. John Adams was a Federalist; Thomas Jefferson was a Democratic-Republican.
- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed on many things. Jefferson beat Adams in the next election.
- Adams prevented war with France during his presidency.
- Adams was married to Abigail Smith Adams. They had five children together.
- Abigail was a well-educated, outspoken woman. She wrote more than 2,000 letters and documents.
- Adams loved to read and had a library containing over 3,000 books. Today many of his books can be seen in the rare book section of the Boston Public Library.
- Although Jefferson and Adams disagreed on politics, they were lifelong friends and wrote many letters to each other. They died on the same day, Independence Day (July 4th), 1826. Adams was 90 years old.
Questions and Answers
Question: Was Abigail involved in John Adam’s presidency?
Answer: John Adams frequently sought counsel from his wife, who urged him to be thoughtful on many issues. Abigail believed strongly that women should have the right to own property, vote, and even divorce.
Visit History.com to see an Infographic about the Sons of Liberty (the men who helped America gain independence).