John Adams was an American statesman and Founding Father who served as the first Vice President and second President of the United States. He was a lawyer, diplomat, political theorist, and a leader of the movement for American independence from Great Britain. Take a look below for 30 more fascinating and interesting facts about John Adams.
1. He was a dedicated diarist and correspondent, particularly with his wife and closest advisor, Abigail.
2. Adams collaborated with his cousin, revolutionary leader Samuel Adams, but established his own prominence prior to the American Revolution.
3. Driven by his devotion to the right to counsel and the presumption of innocence, he provided a successful, if unpopular, legal defense of the accused British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre, despite severe local anti-British sentiment.
4. Adams was sent as a delegate from colonial Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, where he played a leading role in persuading Congress to declare independence.
5. He assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and was its foremost advocate in the Congress.
6. As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain, and acquired vital governmental loans from Amsterdam bankers.
7. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780.
8. Adams’ credentials as a revolutionary secured for him two terms as George Washington‘s Vice President and also his own election in 1796 as the second president.
9. In his single term as president, he encountered fierce criticism from the Jeffersonian Republicans, as well as the dominant faction in his own Federalist Party, led by his rival Alexander Hamilton.
10. Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts, and built up the army and navy in the face of an undeclared naval Quasi-War with France.
11. The major accomplishment of his presidency was a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the face of Hamilton’s opposition.
12. Due to his strong posture on defense, Adams is often called the father of the American Navy.
13. He was the first United States president to reside in the executive mansion, now known as the White House.
14. While he never owned slaves and expressed strong moral opposition, politically he was moderate on the issue.
15. In 1800, Adams lost re-election to Thomas Jefferson and retired to Massachusetts. He eventually resumed his friendship with Jefferson by initiating a correspondence which lasted 14 years.
16. He and his wife established a family of politicians, diplomats, and historians now referred to as the Adams political family, most notably, their son John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States.
17. John Adams died on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and the same day as Jefferson.
18. Adams was the first lawyer-president.
19. He was the only president of the first five U.S. presidents not to be a slaveholder.
20. During the Continental Congresses, he served on more committees than any other congressman; 90 in all, of which he chaired 20.
21. A letter Adams wrote to a friend expressing his discontent with the Olive Branch Petition was intersected before it reached England. King George III refused to read the petition claiming that it was insincere.
22. He cast the tie-breaking vote at least 31 times during his eight years as Vice President and the leader of the Senate, a record that has not been matched.
23. During the presidential elections, when the final tabulations of votes arrived at the Senate, it was Adams who opened the envelope as President of the Senate. He won 71 votes against Jefferson’s 68.
24. Adams wasn’t a popular president. His independent mind led to political isolation, unwilling to compromise, he faced opposition from his own cabinet.
25. He didn’t attend Jefferson’s inauguration. He was one of only three presidents not to attend his successor’s inauguration.
26. Adams was the two-times great grandson of Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
27. Adams founded the American Academy for Arts and Sciences in 1779. It still exists today.
28. None of Adams’ family members attended his inauguration.
29. He was the first president whose son also became the president.
30. He lived to be 90 years old. It wasn’t until Carter, Reagan, Ford and Bush, Sr. that a president lived as long.