John Adams (30 October [19 October O.S.] 1735 – 4 July 1826) was an American statesman and Founding Father who served as the first Vice President (1789–1797) and second President of the United States (1797–1801). He was a lawyer, diplomat, political theorist and a leader of the movement for American independence from Great Britain. He was also a dedicated diarist and correspondent, particularly with his wife and closest advisor Abigail.
Adams collaborated with his cousin, revolutionary leader Samuel Adams, but he established his own prominence prior to the American Revolution. Driven by his devotion to the right to counsel and the presumption of innocence, he defied extreme local anti-British sentiment and provided a successful legal defense of the accused British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre. 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. He assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and was its foremost advocate in Congress. As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the peace treaty with Great Britain and acquired vital governmental loans from Amsterdam bankers. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, which influenced the development of America's own constitution, as did his earlier Thoughts on Government.
Adams's credentials as a revolutionary secured him two terms as George Washington's vice president and also his own election in 1796 as president. During his single term, he encountered fierce criticism from the Jeffersonian Republicans, as well as from the dominant faction in his own Federalist Party, led by his rival Alexander Hamilton. 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. The major accomplishment of his presidency was a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the face of public anger and Hamilton's opposition. Due to his strong posture on defense, Adams is often called the father of the American Navy. He was the first U.S. president to reside in the executive mansion, now known as the White House.
Facing opposition from Federalists and accusations of monarchical tendencies and despotism from Republicans, Adams lost re-election to his former friend Thomas Jefferson and retired to Massachusetts. He eventually resumed his friendship with Jefferson by initiating a correspondence which lasted fourteen years. He and his wife established a family of politicians, diplomats and historians now referred to as the Adams political family, whose most notable member was their son John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States. John Adams died on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, hours after Jefferson's death. Modern historians in the aggregate have favorably ranked his administration.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "John Adams" as of 06 Aug 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.