John Adams Biography

John Adams was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America and the second president of the country. This biography of John Adams provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline

Quick Facts

Nick Name: His Rotundity, Old Sink or Swim, The Colossus of Independence, Atlas of Independence, The Duke of Braintree, Bonny Johnny

Birthday: October 30, 1735

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By John Adams Presidents

Died At Age: 90

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Born in: Braintree

Famous as: 2nd U.S. President

political ideology: Political party - Federalist


Spouse/Ex-: Abigail Adams

father: John Adams Sr.

mother: Susanna Boylston

siblings: Elihu Adams, Peter Adams

children: Abigail Adams Smith, Charles Adams, Elizabeth Adams, John Quincy Adams, Susanna Adams, Thomas Boylston Adams

Died on: July 4, 1826

place of death: Quincy

Diseases & Disabilities: Depression

Personality: INTJ

U.S. State: Massachusetts

Founder/Co-Founder: Library of Congress

More Facts

education: 1755 - Harvard College, 1758 - Harvard College

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John Adams was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America and the second president of the country. Before becoming the president he had served as the first vice president of the United States under President George Washington. He was a well educated and thoughtful man known for his political philosophies. A leading advocate of American independence from Great Britain, he played a key role in persuading Congress to declare independence and helped Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He was an Enlightenment political theorist and an abolitionist who vehemently opposed slavery. Born as the son of a farmer and cobbler, Adams rose from his humble beginnings to receive his education from a prestigious college and become a qualified lawyer. From early on he believed in the ideal of freedom for all and became involved in the patriot cause and led the American movement for independence from Great Britain. He also became active in politics and was elected the first vice president in 1789 under President Washington before succeeding him as the President of the US in 1797. His achievements as the president though largely unrecognized in his era gained greater recognition in modern times

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Childhood & Early Life
  • John Adams was born on October 30, 1735, in Quincy, Massachusetts to John Adams, Sr. and Susanna Boylston. He had two younger brothers. His father worked as a farmer and cobbler and also served as a Congregationalist deacon; Adams was very close to his father and was full of praise for him.
  • He went to Harvard College at age 16 in 1751 and graduated in 1755 with a Bachelor of Arts. He worked as a teacher for some time and decided to become a lawyer.
  • He went on to study law in the office of John Putnam, the leading lawyer in Worcester, and earned a master's degree from Harvard in 1758. He was admitted to the bar in 1761.
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  • John Adams was a patriot and soon became a leading figure in the American independence movement. He strongly opposed the Stamp Act of 1765 and denounced the act as invalid in front of the Massachusetts governor and his council. He rose to prominence following this incidence.
  • He was elected to the Massachusetts Assembly in 1770 and represented the colony at the first Continental Congresses in 1774.
  • He always advocated independence for America from the colonial rule and offered a resolution that amounted to a declaration of independence from Great Britain in May 1776. The Congress approved his resolution and appointed him, along with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman, to draft the declaration.
  • John Adams assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence and America finally adopted the Declaration on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.
  • He was soon serving on as many as 90 committees in the newly independent government and in addition was chosen to serve as the head of the Board of War and Ordnance, in 1777. In this position he worked hard for up to 18 hours a day mastering the details of raising, equipping, and fielding an army under civilian control.
  • In 1779 he worked along with Samuel Adams and James Bowdoin to draft the Massachusetts Constitution. He was the document’s principal author and the constitution became effective on October 25, 1780.
  • America’s first ever presidential election was to be held in 1789 and John Adams was one of those figures placed on the ballot. George Washington received the highest number of electoral votes and was elected president. Adams received the second-highest number of votes and was made the vice president in accordance with the Constitutional provision set for presidential elections at that time.
  • He was again made the vice president following the 1792 election. Adams was frustrated with his tenures as the vice president as many of his views on political and legal issues differed from those of President Washington’s.
  • In 1796, he was elected as the Federalist nominee for president. His opponents were former Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and Senator Aaron Burr of New York on the Democratic-Republican ticket. Adams won narrowly with 71 electoral votes against 68 for Jefferson (who became the vice president).
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  • John Adams assumed office on March 4, 1797 as the second President of the United States. During that time, Britain and France were at war and these conflicts were causing considerable political difficulties for the US. Adams wanted the US government to stay out of the European war but the French saw America as Britain's junior partner and began seizing American merchant ships that were trading with the British.
  • In order to build diplomatic relations with the French, the Adams administration sent an American commission to France in July 1797 to negotiate problems that were threatening to break out into war. The French however demanded bribes before formal negotiations could begin and this offended the Americans who left without negotiations.
  • This failed negotiation attempt led to an undeclared war called the Quasi-War. The Quasi-war which started in 1798 ultimately ended in 1800. However, Adams’ popularity as the president declined considerably following this event and he lost the re-election in 1800 and was succeeded by Thomas Jefferson as the president.
Major Works
  • John Adams played a major role in the American Revolution and the country’s independence movement. He was among the influential men who persuaded Congress to declare independence and assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
  • He is credited to have largely written the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780. The constitution which was organized into a structure of chapters, sections, and articles served as a model for the Constitution of the United States of America, drafted seven years later.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He married Abigail Smith, his third cousin and the daughter of a Congregational minister, Rev. William Smith on October 25, 1764. The couple had six children, including son John Quincy Adams who later became the sixth President of the United States.
  • He died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

See the events in life of John Adams in Chronological Order

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- John Adams Biography
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Last Updated
- July 24, 2017
John Adams

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