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John Adams was one of America’s Founding Fathers. He was the first Vice President and second President of the United States (1797-1801). The Executive Mansion, now known as the White House, was first occupied during his presidency. He is also known as the Atlas of Independence. For more information on John Adams read the fact file below or download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- John Adams was born on October 30, 1735 in Braintree, Massachusetts. He was the son of John Adams, Sr., a councilman, and Susanna Boylston, a descendant of a prominent family in Massachusetts. At the age of 16, he was accepted at Harvard University and practiced teaching after graduation. By 1758, he earned a Master’s degree from the same school.
- On October 25, 1764, he married Abigail Smith, his third cousin, with whom he had 6 children. His oldest son, John Quincy, became the 6th president of the United States.
- John’s political career started when he was elected as one of the delegates from Massachusetts. As a representative, he participated during the First and Second Continental Congress from 1774 until 1777. He was one of the drafters of the Declaration of Independence, also known as the Committee of Five.
- In 1776, he wrote “Thoughts on Government”, which became a major influence in the adoption of independent government by the original thirteen colonies.
- John Adams became one of the first Ministers (Ambassadors) to serve the young United States abroad. In 1779, he served as a Minister to France. A year later, he was the Minister to the Netherlands, and was sent back to France to negotiate allegiance in 1781. These negotiations ended in the Revolutionary War against the British. John Adams was also sent to the Court of St James in 1785 before returning to the United States in 1788.
- Prior to his own presidency, Adams served as George Washington’s Vice President for two terms.
John Adam’s Presidency
- On March 4, 1797, he became the second President of the United States. He took his oath at the Congress Hall of Pennsylvania. Thomas Jefferson was his Vice President from 1797 until 1801. Until the construction of the White House, he spent most of time at the President’s House in Philadelphia.
- During his presidency, John Adams faced some challenges with the newly formed French Republic. In 1797, President Adams sent diplomats to France for peace negotiations, known as the “XYZ affair”. By 1798, Adams had built up the American Navy and Army with George Washington as Commander-in-Chief supported by his second-in-command, Alexander Hamilton. The expenses of the so-called Quasi-War against France resulted in the imposition of taxes, which then caused Dutch farmers to revolt in the Fries’s Rebellion.
- In 1800, the Quasi-War ended along with the termination of the 1778 Treaty of Alliance. The United States became a neutral country between the warring France and Britain. This action by Adams diminished his popularity. As a result of the political conflict, the Democratic-Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson was established, opposing the president’s Federalist Party.
- In order to avoid the break out of the Federalist Party, President Adams used the Judiciary Act of 1801 in appointing “Midnight Judges” who were loyal to the party. One of his appointees was Chief Justice John Marshall, who later worked for the establishment of the co-equal branches of the government, namely the Judicial Branch, Executive Branch, and Legislative Branch.
- In 1801, re-electionist John Adams was defeated by Thomas Jefferson. The political rivalry ended his career and friendship with Jefferson until the famous letters in 1812.
Post Presidency & Death
- From 1809 until 1812, Adams wrote series of defense letters to the Boston Patriot against Hamilton. Meanwhile, he renewed his friendship with Thomas Jefferson through letters. The Adams-Jefferson Letters, composed of 158 letters, were later on published.
- Adams spent most of his retirement years in his home at Peacefield. Due to health issues, he declined to deal with any political affairs in Massachusetts. By 1825, his son John Quincy Adams of the Democratic-Republican Party became the 6th president of the United States.
- John Adams died on July 4, 1826, on the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, just hours after the death of Thomas Jefferson. His last words were, “ Thomas Jefferson survives”.
- Unlike Washington and Jefferson, there was neither memorial for Adams, nor monuments named after him.
John Adams Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use John Adams Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about John Adams who was one of America’s Founding Fathers. He was the first Vice President and second President of the United States (1797-1801).
Download includes the following worksheets:
- John Adams Facts
- The Biography
- The Committee of Five
- American Political Party
- The White House
- US Presidents
- Letters to Jefferson
- America’s Political Dynasty
- Father and Son
- Thoughts on Government
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Use With Any Curriculum
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