>Today is the second in a series chronicling the good and the bad of American presidents. My goal is to present an unbiased histography of the man and the president. I am trying very hard to maintain objectiveness in my assessment of each man. For the most part, I am finding it most effective to use bullet points to accomplish this task.
- Born in 1735 in Braintree Province of Massachusetts to John Adams Sr. and Susanna Boylston. He was the oldest of three brothers. He can date his ancestry back to Henry Adams, who was an original immigrant in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638.
- He was heavily influenced by his Puritan ancestry. He felt that they were “bearers of freedom” and felt very strongly to live up to their fight for freedom from tyranny.
- Adams began attending Harvard at the age of 16. His father had expected him to become a minister, but after much reflection Adams decided to become a lawyer.
- At the age of 28, Adams married Abigail Smith, the daughter of a Congregational (Puritan) minister. They had six children-Abigail, John Quincy, Susanna, Charles, Thomas Boylston, and Elizabeth (stillborn).
- Adams was a major opponent of the stamp act of 1765 . He made the argument that the beliefs of his ancestors, the Puritans, were the driving force behind the opposition to the stamp act. He believed that the stamp act deprived the colonists of basic human rights. In this case, those human rights consisted of not being taxed without consent and being judged by a jury of their peers.
- As a lawyer, John Adams defended the British soldiers accused of firing into a crowd in Boston, MA. This event has since came to be known as the Boston Massacre. He was afraid that defending the soldiers would hurt his reputation, however his belief in basic humans rights and the right to a fair trial, far outweighed any fear he had of his reputation. Because of his defense, six of the soldiers were acquitted and two were found guilty of manslaughter. He received very little payment for his services from the soldiers.
- 1776-Wrote Thoughts on Government which many believe heavily influenced New England state constitutions.
- Although Thomas Jefferson was the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence, Adams was part of the committee that helped draft it.
- Massachusetts’s state constitution was largely written by Adams
- Adams never owned slaves. Him and Abigail employed free blacks to work on their plantation. Adams, however did argue against the emancipation of slaves in Massachusetts and thought that the subject of slavery should stay out of national politics. He also opposed the use of blacks in the revolution. I have not been able to find any information why he held such a stance, and why he was so adamant about it.
- Served as Vice-President during George Washington’s two terms in office.
- 1796-Adams ran for president as the Federalist Party candidate. He won the presidency over Thomas Jefferson by a very narrow electoral college victory (71-98).
- Adams was never implicated in any type of scandal. His personal life and his public life was one of virtue and respect.
- Adams had many political struggles during his presidency. He was undercut by his own party and made many political enemies. He made every effort to practice George Washington’s recommendation in not getting involved in foreign affairs. This became difficult when the French began attacking American merchant ships. After much negotiation, he was able to sign a treaty with Napoleon that in essence kept America out of any entanglements in the war between Britain and France.
- Adams lost his bid for a second term to Thomas Jefferson (democratic-republican). Most historians point to Alexander Hamilton and the “High Federalists” for undermining his campaign. The political landscape had shifted in the Senate and in the Parties. Because of Jefferson’s tremendous popularity, Hamilton’s backstabbing, and Aaron Burr’s politicking John Adams stood no chance.
- Because of the rift between Jefferson and Adams, he did not attend Jefferson’s inauguration ceremony.
- John Adams died on July 4, 1826, the same day as Thomas Jefferson. He held the record of being the oldest living past president until his record was broken by Ronald Reagan in 2001.
- Adams was raised in the Congregational Church but later embraced the beliefs of the Unitarian Church. He was influenced by Deist teaching and did not Believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ or that God intervened in the day to day activities of mankind. Adams did however, carry the up most respect for Christianity as the only religion of the ancient world that was full of “wisdom, virtue, equity, and humanity.”
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.
major source for this post can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Adams