John Adams was a supporter of American independence from Great Britain, an important figure in the Continental Congress (1774-77), author of the Massachusetts State Constitution (1780), signatory of the Treaty of Paris (1783), ambassador to the Court of Saint James (1785-88) and First Vice-President (1789-97) and Second President (1797-1801) of the United States.

After finishing second to George Washington in the first US presidential election in 1789 and serving as Washington’s vice president (1789-97), Adams narrowly defeated Thomas Jefferson to be elected second President of the United States in 1796.

He then lost to Jefferson in the 1800 presidential election.

John Adams’ family could trace its lineage back to the first generation of Puritan settlers in New England and made major contributions to the political and intellectual life of the United States for over 150 years. His cousin, Samuel Adams, was, like John Adams, a pioneer of the American Revolution. John Quincy Adams, like his father, John Adams, was president of the United States.

How did John Adams become president?

John Adams was born and raised in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts. The eldest of three sons of farmer and shoemaker Deacon John Adams, he was encouraged to aspire to the ministry and graduated from Harvard College (1755). He taught at the grammar school for three years before choosing a career as a lawyer over that of a minister.

After graduating from Harvard College in 1755, he practiced law in Boston. In 1764 he married Abigail Smith, he writes Britannica.

Active in the American independence movement, he was elected to the Massachusetts legislature and was a delegate to the Continental Congress (1774-78), where he was appointed to a committee, along with Thomas Jefferson and others, to draft the Declaration of Independence.

His tenure as president was marked by controversy

During 1776-78 he was appointed to numerous congressional commissions, including one to create a navy and another to consider foreign affairs. He was a diplomat in France, Holland and England (1778-88).

In the first US presidential election, he received the second highest number of votes and became vice president under George Washington.

Adams’ term as president was marked by controversy over his signing of the Alien and Seduction Acts in 1798 and his alliance with the conservative Federalist Party.

In 1800 he was defeated for re-election by Jefferson and retired to live a secluded life in Massachusetts. In 1812 he got over his bitterness towards Jefferson, with whom he began a long correspondence. They both died on 4 July 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.

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