John Adams

John Adams (October 30, 1735 (O.S. October 19, 1735) – July 4, 1826) was the second President of the United States (1797–1801), having earlier served as the first Vice President of the United States. An American Founding Father, he was a statesman, diplomat, and a leader of American independence from Great Britain. Well educated, he was an Enlightenment political theorist who promoted republicanism.

Adams came to prominence in the early stages of the American Revolution. A lawyer and public figure in Boston, as a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, he played a leading role in persuading Congress to declare independence. He assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and was its primary advocate in the Congress. Later, as a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain, and was responsible for obtaining vital governmental loans from Amsterdam bankers. A political theorist and historian, Adams largely wrote the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, which together with his earlier Thoughts on Government, influenced American political thought. One of his greatest roles was as a judge of character: in 1775, he nominated George Washington to be commander-in-chief, and 25 years later nominated John Marshall to be Chief Justice of the United States.

Adams' revolutionary credentials secured him two terms as George Washington's vice president and his own election in 1796 as the second president. During his one term, he encountered ferocious attacks by the Jeffersonian Republicans, as well as the dominant faction in his own Federalist Party led by his bitter enemy Alexander Hamilton. Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts, and built up the army and navy especially in the face of an undeclared naval war (called the "Quasi-War") with France, 1798–1800. The major accomplishment of his presidency was his peaceful resolution of the conflict in the face of Hamilton's opposition.

In 1800, Adams was defeated for re-election by Thomas Jefferson and retired to Massachusetts. He later resumed his friendship with Jefferson. He and his wife, Abigail Adams, founded an accomplished family line of politicians, diplomats, and historians now referred to as the Adams political family. Adams was the father of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. His achievements have received greater recognition in modern times, though his contributions were not initially as celebrated as those of other Founders.

Read more about John Adams:  Early Life, Continental Congress, In Europe, Constitutional Ideas, Vice Presidency, Election of 1796, Presidency: 1797–1801, Administration, Cabinet and Supreme Court Appointments 1797–1801, After His Presidency, Death, Religious Views, Ancestry, Biographies

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    From cradle to grave this problem of running order through chaos, direction through space, discipline through freedom, unity through multiplicity, has always been, and must always be, the task of education, as it is the moral of religion, philosophy, science, art, politics and economy; but a boy’s will is his life, and he dies when it is broken, as the colt dies in harness, taking a new nature in becoming tame.
    —Henry Brooks Adams (1838–1918)

    No such sermons have come to us here out of England, in late years, as those of this preacher,—sermons to kings, and sermons to peasants, and sermons to all intermediate classes. It is in vain that John Bull, or any of his cousins, turns a deaf ear, and pretends not to hear them: nature will not soon be weary of repeating them. There are words less obviously true, more for the ages to hear, perhaps, but none so impossible for this age not to hear.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)