John Adams

Second President 1797-1801


Born: October 30 1735 in Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts.

Education: Graduated from Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Occupation: Lawyer, diplomat, public official.

Religoin: Unitarian.

Family life: He married Abigail Smith on October 25, 1764 . It was a marriage of the mind and of the heart, enduring for more than half a century, enriched by time. The children of John and Abigail were Abigail Amelia Adams (1765- 1813) , John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), Susanna Adams (1768- 1770), Charles Adams (1770-1800), and Thomas Boylston Adams ( 772-1832). Abigail died in 1818, and is buried beside her husband. She leaves her country a most remarkable record as patriot and First Lady, wife of one President and mother of another.

Political career: An early leader of the Revolution, Adams attended the Continental Congresses and was on the committee to write the Declaration of Independence. A leading diplomat, 1778-88, he helped Washington's career and was vice-president, 1789-97. Elected in 1796 as a Federalist; was badly defeated for reelection in 1880, and retired to Quincy in 1801.

Highlights of his presidency: Prospective treaty with the French marred by XYZ affair; French officials demanded bribes. Alien and Sedition laws passed with Adams neutral. Because of his lack of support in Congress, Adams did not accomplish much in his four years in office. John Adams has been the least understood and appreciated. His reputation, both during his lifetime and after, has suffered from this lack of understanding.

Appearance: Short and stout, with strong stern features.

Died: July 4, 1826 in Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts.

Burried: He is buried at the First Unitarian Church in Quincy, Norfolk, Massachusetts along side of his wife.


  • Birth place of John Adams
  • Adams National Historic Site
  • Inaugural Address
  • Groliers Biography of John Adams
  • Quotes by John Adams




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