John Adams was born on October 30th, 1735, in Braintree, Massachusetts Bay. Then it was one of the thirteen colonies of British America. He was a direct descendant of the famous pilgrims of the Mayflower, which arrived in North America in 1620. Though his father was a farmer, he also served in a local government.
After finishing school in Braintree, Adams also graduated from Harvard College in 1755. He became a lawyer three years later. Within a few years, he was one of the leading lawyers in Boston. Soon, Adam stood among the many disgruntled Americans with British rule. Yet, he proved a man of principle when he represented the British troops after the 1770 Boston Massacre.
He was one of the pivotal figures in the First (1775) and Second (1775) Continental Congress. He nominated George Washington to lead the colonial army. In addition, he also chose Thomas Jefferson and his second cousin, Samuel Adams, to draft the Declaration of Independence. He himself worked on the final shape.
John Adams then spent ten years, from 1778 to 1788, as a diplomat in Europe. With Benjamin Franklin and John Jay, he signed the Treaty of Paris. This document was the official end to the revolutionary war. Yet, his most significant roles came upon his return to the USA. In 1789, he became the nation’s first vice president. This role, though, was not enough for him.
Hence, he pursued the presidential office. He won the 1796 elections against Thomas Jefferson and became the second US president. However, unlike his VP, John Adams believed in a strong federal government. Besides, he was responsible for building a powerful navy.
His popularity grew after refusing a bribe from the French. However, the situation between the two former allies was at a freezing point. As a result, a naval war broke about in 1798 and ended in 1800.
A series of four acts, the Alien and Sedition Acts, limited the rights of foreigners in the USA. These laws ruined his popularity and cost him the reelection in 1800. He was also hard to deal with and lost faith among members of the Federalist party he was a member of. Alexander Hamilton even wrote a leaflet denouncing him.
This vital Founding Father married Abigail Smith Adams. They had six children, of which John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, was the most famous. John Adams died on July 4th, 1826, in Quincy, Massachusetts. Jefferson died on the same day. Besides, it was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
“Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”John Adams