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John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States (1797–1801). Hailing from New England, Adams, a prominent lawyer and public figure in Boston, was highly educated and represented Enlightenment values promoting republicanism.Sony VAIO VGN-NS10E/S Battery

A Federalist, he was highly influential and one of the key Founding Fathers of the United States.

Adams came to prominence in the early stages of the American Revolution.Sony VAIO VGN-NS10J/S Battery

As a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, he played a leading role in persuading Congress to declare independence, and assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776.Sony VAIO VGN-NS10L/S Battery

As a representative of Congress in Europe, he was a major negotiator of the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain, and chiefly responsible for obtaining important loans from Amsterdam bankers. A political theorist and historian, Adams largely wrote the Massachusetts state constitution in 1780,Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/L Battery

but was in Europe when the federal Constitution was drafted on similar principles later in the decade. 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.Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/S Battery

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.Sony VAIO VGN-NS110E/W Battery

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.Sony VAIO VGN-NS115N/S Battery

In 1800 Adams was defeated for reelection 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. Sony VAIO VGN-NS11J/S Battery

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.Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/L Battery

Early life

John Adams, Jr., the eldest of three sons, was born on October 30, 1735 (October 19, 1735 Old Style, Julian calendar), in what is now Quincy, Massachusetts (then called the "north precinct" of Braintree, Massachusetts), to John Adams, Sr., and Susanna Boylston Adams.Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/S Battery

The location of Adams's birth is now part of Adams National Historical Park. His father, also named John (1691–1761), was a fifth-generation descendant of Henry Adams, who emigrated from Braintree, Essex, in England to Massachusetts Bay Colony in about 1638. Sony VAIO VGN-NS130E/W Battery

His father was a farmer, a Congregationalist (that is,Puritan) deacon, a lieutenant in the militia and a selectman, or town councilman, who supervised schools and roads. His mother, Susanna Boylston Adams,was a descendant of the Boylstons of Brookline.Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/L Battery

Adams was born to a modest family, but he felt acutely the responsibility of living up to his family heritage: the founding generation of Puritans, who came to the American wilderness in the 1630s and established colonial presence in America. The Puritans of the great migration "believed they lived in the Bible. Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/S Battery

England under the Stuarts was Egypt; they were Israel fleeing ... to establish a refuge for godliness, a city upon a hill." By the time of John Adams's birth in 1735, Puritan tenets such as predestination were no longer as widely accepted, and many of their stricter practices had mellowed with time, but John Adams "considered them bearers of freedom, a cause that still had a holy urgency.Sony VAIO VGN-NS140E/W Battery

" It was a value system he believed in, and a heroic model he wished to live up to.

Young Adams went to Harvard College at age sixteen in 1751. His father expected him to become a minister, but Adams had doubts.Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/L Battery

After graduating in 1755 with an A.B., he taught school for a few years in Worcester, allowing himself time to think about his career choice. After much reflection, he decided to become a lawyer and studied law in the office of John Putnam, a prominent lawyer in Worcester. Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/S Battery

In 1758, after earning an A.M. from Harvard, Adams was admitted to the bar. From an early age, he developed the habit of writing descriptions of events and impressions of men which are scattered through his diary. He put the skill to good use as a lawyer, often recording cases he observed so that he could study and reflect upon them.Sony VAIO VGN-NS190J/W Battery

His report of the 1761 argument of James Otis in the superior court of Massachusetts as to the legality of Writs of Assistance is a good example. Otis's argument inspired Adams with zeal for the cause of the American colonies. Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/L Battery

On October 25, 1764, five days before his 29th birthday, Adams married Abigail Smith (1744–1818), his third cousin and the daughter of a Congregationalminister, Rev. William Smith, at Weymouth, Massachusetts. Their children were Abigail (1765–1813);Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/P Battery

future president John Quincy (1767–1848); Susanna (1768–1770); Charles (1770–1800); Thomas Boylston (1772–1832); and the stillborn Elizabeth (1777).

Adams was not a popular leader like his second cousin, Samuel Adams. Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/S Battery

Instead, his influence emerged through his work as a constitutional lawyer and his intense analysis of historical examples, ogether with his thorough knowledge of the law and his dedication to the principles of republicanism. Adams often found his inborn contentiousness to be a constraint in his political career.Sony VAIO VGN-NS235J/W Battery

Career before the Revolution

Opponent of Stamp Act 1765

Adams first rose to prominence as an opponent of the Stamp Act of 1765, which was imposed by the British Parliament without consulting the American legislatures. Sony VAIO VGN-NS240E/L Battery

Americans protested vehemently that it violated their traditional rights as Englishmen. Popular resistance, he later observed, was sparked by an oft-reprinted sermon of the Boston minister, Jonathan Mayhew, interpreting Romans 13 to elucidate the principle of just insurrection. Sony VAIO VGN-NS290J/L Battery

In 1765, Adams drafted the instructions which were sent by the inhabitants of Braintree to its representatives in the Massachusetts legislature, and which served as a model for other towns to draw up instructions to their representatives. In August 1765, he anonymously contributed four notable articles to the Boston Gazette   Sony VAIO VGN-NS290J/S Battery

(republished in The London Chronicle in 1768 as True Sentiments of America, also known as A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law). In the letter he suggested that there was a connection between the Protestant ideas that Adams's Puritan ancestors brought to New England and the ideas behind their resistance to the Stamp Act. Sony VAIO VGN-NS50B/L Battery

In the former he explained that the opposition of the colonies to the Stamp Act was because the Stamp Act deprived the American colonists of two basic rights guaranteed to all Englishmen, and which all free men deserved: rights to be taxed only by consent and to be tried only by a jury of one's peers.Sony VAIO VGN-NS50B/W Battery

The "Braintree Instructions" were a succinct and forthright defense of colonial rights and liberties, while the Dissertation was an essay in political education.

In December 1765, he delivered a speech before the governor and council in which he pronounced the Stamp Act invalid on the ground that Massachusetts, being without representation in Parliament, had not assented to it.Sony VAIO VGN-NS51B/L Battery

Boston Massacre

In 1770, a street confrontation resulted in British soldiers killing five civilians in what became known as the Boston Massacre.The soldiers involved were arrested on criminal charges. Not surprisingly, they had trouble finding legal counsel to represent them.Sony VAIO VGN-NS51B/P Battery

Finally, they asked Adams to defend. He accepted, though he feared it would hurt his reputation. In their defense, Adams made his now famous quote regarding making decisions based on the evidence "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."Sony VAIO VGN-NS51B/W Battery

Six of the soldiers were acquitted. Two who had fired directly into the crowd were charged with murder but were convicted only of manslaughter. Adams was paid eighteen guineas by the British soldiers, or about the cost of a pair of shoes.

Despite his previous misgivings, Adams was elected to the Massachusetts General Court (the colonial legislature) in June 1770, while still in preparation for the trial.Sony VAIO VGN-NS52JB/L Battery

Dispute concerning Parliament's authority

In 1772, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson announced that he and his judges would no longer need their salaries paid by the Massachusetts legislature, because the Crown would henceforth assume payment drawn from customs revenues. Sony VAIO VGN-NS52JB/P Battery

Boston radicals protested and asked Adams to explain their objections. In "Two Replies of the Massachusetts House of Representatives to Governor Hutchinson" Adams argued that the colonists had never been under the sovereignty of Parliament.Sony VAIO VGN-NS52JB/W Battery

Their original charter was with the person of the king and their allegiance was only to him. If a workable line could not be drawn between parliamentary sovereignty and the total independence of the colonies, he continued, the colonies would have no other choice but to choose independence.Sony VAIO VGN-NS70B/W Battery

In Novanglus; or, A History of the Dispute with America, From Its Origin, in 1754, to the Present Time Adams attacked some essays by Daniel Leonard that defended Hutchinson's arguments for the absolute authority of Parliament over the colonies.Sony VAIO VGN-NS71B/W Battery

In Novanglus Adams gave a point-by-point refutation of Leonard's essays, and then provided one of the most extensive and learned arguments made by the colonists against British imperial policy.

It was a systematic attempt by Adams to describe the origins, nature, and jurisdiction of the unwritten British constitution.Sony VAIO VGN-NS72JB/W Battery

Adams used his wide knowledge of English and colonial legal history to argue that the provincial legislatures were fully sovereign over their own internal affairs, and that the colonies were connected to Great Britain only through the King.

Continental Congress

Massachusetts sent Adams to the first and second Continental Congresses in 1774 and from 1775 to 1777.Sony VAIO VGN-NS90HS Battery

In June 1775, with a view of promoting union among the colonies, he nominated George Washington of Virginia as commander-in-chief of the army then assembled around Boston. His influence in Congress was great, and almost from the beginning, he sought permanent separation from Britain.Sony VAIO VGN-NS92JS Battery

On May 15, 1776, the Continental Congress, in response to escalating hostilities which had started thirteen months earlier at the battles of Lexington and Concord, urged that the colonies begin constructing their own constitutions, a precursor to becoming independent states. Sony VAIO VGN-NS92XS Battery

The resolution to draft independent constitutions was, as Adams put it, "independence itself."

Over the next decade, Americans from every state gathered and deliberated on new governing documents.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21EF/S Battery

As radical as it was to write constitutions (prior convention suggested that a society's form of government needn't be codified, nor should its organic law be written down in a single document), what was equally radical was the nature of American political thought as the summer of 1776 dawned.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21JF Battery

Thoughts on Government

Several representatives turned to Adams for advice about framing new governments. Adams got tired of repeating the same thing, and published the pamphlet "Thoughts on Government" (1776), which was subsequently influential in the writing of state constitutions.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF Battery

Using the conceptual framework of Republicanism in the United States, the patriots believed it was the corrupt and nefarious aristocrats, in the British Parliament, and their minions stationed in America, who were guilty of the British assault on American liberty.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF/W Battery

Adams advised that the form of government should be chosen to attain the desired ends, which are the happiness and virtue of the greatest number of people. With this goal in mind, he wrote in "Thoughts on Government",

There is no good government but what is republican. Sony VAIO VGN-NW21ZF Battery

That the only valuable part of the British constitution is so; because the very definition of a republic is 'an empire of laws, and not of men.

Declaration of Independence

On June 7, 1776, Adams seconded the resolution of independence introduced by Richard Henry Lee which stated,Sony VAIO VGN-NW31EF/W Battery

"These colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states," and championed the resolution until it was adopted by Congress on July 2, 1776.

He was appointed to a committee with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman, to draft a Declaration of Independence. Sony VAIO VGN-NW31JF Battery

Although that document was written primarily by Jefferson, Adams occupied the foremost place in the debate on its adoption. Many years later, Jefferson hailed Adams as "the pillar of [the Declaration's] support on the floor of Congress, its ablest advocate and defender against the multifarious assaults it encountered."Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/B Battery

After the defeat of the Continental Army at the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776, General William Howe requested the Second Continental Congress send representatives to negotiate peace. A delegation including Adams and Benjamin Franklin met with Howe on Staten Island in New York Harbor on September 11, Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/TC Battery

where Howe demanded the Declaration of Independence be rescinded before any other terms could be discussed. The delegation refused, and hostilities continued. In 1777, Adams resigned his seat on the Massachusetts Superior Court to serve as the head of the Board of War and Ordnance, as well as many other important committees.Sony VAIO VGN-NW35E Battery

In Europe

Congress twice dispatched Adams to represent the fledgling union in Europe, first in 1777, and again in 1779. Accompanied, on both occasions, by his eldest son, John Quincy (who was ten years old at the time of the first voyage), Adams sailed for France aboard the Continental Navy frigate Boston on February 15, 1778. Sony VAIO VGN-NW380F/S Battery

The trip through winter storms was treacherous, with lightning injuring 19 sailors and killing one. Adams' ship was then pursued by and successfully evaded several British frigates in the mid-Atlantic. Toward the coast of Spain, Adams himself took up arms to help capture a heavily armed British merchantman ship, the Martha.Sony VAIO VGN-NW380F/T Battery

Later, a cannon malfunction killed one and injured five more of Adams' crew before the ship finally arrived in France.

Adams was in some regards an unlikely choice in as much as he did not speak French, the international language of diplomacy at the time.Sony VAIO VGN-NW50JB Battery

His first stay in Europe, between April 1, 1778, and June 17, 1779, was largely unproductive, and he returned to his home in Braintree in early August 1779.

Between September 1 and October 30, 1779, he drafted the Massachusetts Constitution together with Samuel Adams and James Bowdoin.Sony VAIO VGN-NW51FB/N Battery

He was selected in September 1779 to return to France and, following the conclusion of the Massachusetts constitutional convention, left on November 14th  aboard the French frigate Sensible.

On the second trip, Adams was appointed as Minister Plenipotentiary charged with the mission of negotiating a treaty of amity and commerce with Britain.Sony VAIO VGN-NW51FB/W Battery

The French government, however, did not approve of Adams's appointment and subsequently, on the insistence of the French foreign minister, the Comte de Vergennes, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay and Henry Laurens were appointed to cooperate with Adams, although Jefferson did not go to Europe and Laurens was posted to the Dutch Republic. Sony VAIO VGN-NW70JB Battery

In the event Jay, Adams, and Franklin played the major part in the negotiations. Overruling Franklin and distrustful of Vergennes, Jay and Adams decided not to consult with France. Instead, they dealt directly with the British commissioners.Sony VAIO VGN-NW71FB/N Battery

Throughout the negotiations, Adams was especially determined that the right of the United States to the fisheries along the Atlantic coast should be recognized. The American negotiators were able to secure a favorable treaty, which gave Americans ownership of all lands east of the Mississippi, exceptEast and West Florida, which were transferred to Spain. Sony VAIO VGN-NW71FB/W Battery

The treaty was signed on November 30, 1782.

After these negotiations began, Adams had spent some time as the ambassador in the Dutch Republic, then one of the few other Republics in the world (theRepublic of Venice and the Old Swiss Confederacy being the other notable ones).Sony VAIO VGN-NW91FS Battery

In July 1780, he had been authorized to execute the duties previously assigned to Laurens. With the aid of the Dutch Patriot leader Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol, Adams secured the recognition of the United States as an independent government at The Hague on April 19, 1782.Sony VAIO VGN-NW91GS Battery

During this visit, he also negotiated a loan of five million guilders financed by Nicolaas van Staphorst and Wilhelm Willink. In October 1782, he negotiated with the Dutch a treaty of amity and commerce, the first such treaty between the United States and a foreign power following the 1778 treaty with France. Sony VAIO VGN-NW91VS Battery

The house that Adams bought during this stay in The Netherlands became the first American-owned embassy on foreign soil anywhere in the world. For two months during 1783, Adams lodged in London with radical publisher John Stockdale.Sony VAIO VGN-SR11M Battery

In 1784 and 1785, he was one of the architects of far-going trade relations between the US and Prussia. The Prussian ambassador in The Hague, Friedrich Wilhelm von Thulemeyer, was involved, as were Jefferson and Franklin, who were in Paris.

In 1785, John Adams was appointed the first American minister to the Court of St. James's (ambassador to Great Britain). Sony VAIO VGN-SR11MR Battery

When he was presented to his former sovereign, George III, the King intimated that he was aware of Adams's lack of confidence in the French government. Adams admitted this, stating: "I must avow to your Majesty that I have no attachment but to my own country."Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D Battery

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom referred to this episode on July 7, 1976, at the White House. She said:

John Adams, America's first Ambassador, said to my ancestor, King George III, that it was his desire to help with the restoration of 'the old good nature and the old good humor between our peoples.'Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/B Battery

That restoration has long been made, and the links of language, tradition, and personal contact have maintained it.

While in London, John and Abigail had to suffer the stares and hostility of the Court, and chose to escape it when they could by seeking out Richard Price, minister of Newington Green Unitarian Church and instigator of the Revolution Controversy.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/P Battery

Both admired Price very much, and Abigail took to heart the teachings of the man and his protegee Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

Adams's home in England, a house off London's Grosvenor Square, still stands and is commemorated by a plaque. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140D/S Battery

He returned to the United States in 1788 to continue his domestic political life.

Constitutional ideas

Massachusetts's new constitution, ratified in 1780 and written largely by Adams himself, structured its government most closely on his views of politics and society.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E Battery

It was the first constitution written by a special committee and ratified by the people. It was also the first to feature a bicameral legislature, a clear and distinct executive with a partial (two-thirds) veto (although he was restrained by an executive council), and a distinct judicial branch.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/B Battery

While in London, Adams published a work entitled A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States (1787). In it he repudiated the views of Turgot and other European writers as to the viciousness of the framework of state governments.Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/P Battery

Turgot argued that countries that lacked aristocracies needn't have bicameral legislatures. He thought that republican governments feature "all authorities into one center, that of the nation."In the book, Adams suggested that "the rich, the well-born and the able" should be set apart from other men in a senate—that would prevent them from dominating the lower house. Sony VAIO VGN-SR140E/S Battery

Wood (2006) has maintained that Adams had become intellectually irrelevant by the time the Federal Constitution was ratified. By then, American political thought, transformed by more than a decade of vigorous and searching debate as well as shaping experiential pressures, Sony VAIO VGN-SR140N/S Battery

had abandoned the classical conception of politics which understood government as a mirror of social estates. Americans' new conception of popular sovereignty now saw the people-at-large as the sole possessors of power in the realm. All agents of the government enjoyed mere portions of the people's power and only for a limited time. Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/B Battery

Adams had completely missed this concept and revealed his continued attachment to the older version of politics.Yet Wood overlooks Adams's peculiar definition of the term "republic," and his support for a constitution ratified by the people. He also underplays Adams's belief in checks and balances. Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/P Battery

"Power must be opposed to power, and interest to interest," Adams wrote; this sentiment would later be echoed by James Madison's famous statement that "[a]mbition must be made to counteract ambition" in The Federalist No. 51, in explaining the powers of the branches of the United States federal government under the new Constitution.Sony VAIO VGN-SR165E/S Battery

Adams did as much as anyone to put the idea of "checks and balances" on the intellectual map.

Adams's Defence can be read as an articulation of the classical republican theory of mixed government. Adams contended that social classes exist in every political society, and that a good government must accept that reality. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBJ Battery

For centuries, dating back to Aristotle, a mixed regime balancing monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy—that is, the king, the nobles, and the people—was required to preserve order and liberty.

Adams never bought a slave and declined on principle to employ slave labor.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EBQ Battery

Abigail Adams opposed slavery and employed free blacks in preference to her father's two domestic slaves. John Adams spoke out in 1777 against a bill to emancipate slaves in Massachusetts, saying that the issue was presently too divisive, and so the legislation should "sleep for a time."Sony VAIO VGN-SR190EEJ/C Battery

He also was against use of black soldiers in the Revolution, due to opposition from southerners. Adams generally tried to keep the issue out of national politics, because of the anticipated southern response. Though it is difficult to pinpoint the exact date on which slavery was abolished in Massachusetts,Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NAB Battery

a common view is that it was abolished no later than 1780, when it was forbidden by implication in the Declaration of Rights that John Adams wrote into the Massachusetts Constitution.

Vice Presidency

While Washington won the presidential election of 1789 with 69 votes in the electoral college, Adams came in second with 34 votes and became Vice President.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NBB Battery

According to David McCullough, what he really might have wanted was to be the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He presided over the Senate but otherwise played a minor role in the politics of the early 1790s; he was reelected in 1792.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NDB Battery

Washington seldom asked Adams for input on policy and legal issues during his tenure as vice president.

In the first year of Washington's administration, Adams became deeply involved in a month-long Senate controversy over the official title of the President. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NEB Battery

Adams favored grandiose titles such as "His Majesty the President" or "His High Mightiness" over the simple "President of the United States" that eventually won the debate. The pomposity of his stance, along with his being overweight, led to Adams earning the nickname "His Rotundity."Sony VAIO VGN-SR190NGB Battery

As president of the Senate, Adams cast 29 tie-breaking votes—a record that only John C. Calhoun came close to tying, with 28. His votes protected the president's sole authority over the removal of appointees and influenced the location of the national capital.Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PAB Battery

On at least one occasion, he persuaded senators to vote against legislation that he opposed, and he frequently lectured the Senate on procedural and policy matters. Adams's political views and his active role in the Senate made him a natural target for critics of the Washington administration. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PCB Battery

Toward the end of his first term, as a result of a threatened resolution that would have silenced him except for procedural and policy matters, he began to exercise more restraint. When the two political parties formed, he joined the Federalist Party, but never got on well with its dominant leader Alexander Hamilton. Sony VAIO VGN-SR190PFB Battery

Because of Adams's seniority and the need for a northern president, he was elected as the Federalist nominee for president in 1796, over Thomas Jefferson, the leader of the opposition Democratic-Republican Party. His success was due to peace and prosperity; Washington and Hamilton had averted war with Britain with the Jay Treaty of 1795.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

Adams's two terms as Vice President were frustrating experiences for a man of his vigor, intellect, and vanity. He complained to his wife Abigail, "My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived."Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery

Election of 1796

The 1796 election was the first contested election under the First Party System. Adams was the presidential candidate of the Federalist Party and Thomas Pinckney, the Governor of South Carolina, was also running as a Federalist (at this point, the vice president was whoever came in second, so no running mates existed in the modern sense).Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VRN Battery

The Federalists wanted Adams as their presidential candidate to crush Thomas Jefferson's bid. Most Federalists would have preferred Hamilton to be a candidate. Although Hamilton and his followers supported Adams, they also held a grudge against him. They did consider him to be the lesser of the two evils. Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

However, they thought Adams lacked the seriousness and popularity that had caused Washington to be successful and feared that Adams was too vain, opinionated, unpredictable, and stubborn to follow their directions.

Adams's opponents were former Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, who was joined by Senator Aaron Burr of New York on the Democratic-Republican ticket.Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN Battery

As was customary, Adams stayed in his home town of Quincy rather than actively campaign for the Presidency. He wanted to stay out of what he called the silly and wicked game. His party, however, campaigned for him, while the Democratic-Republicans campaigned for Jefferson.Sony VAIO VGN-SR210J/S Battery

It was expected that Adams would dominate the votes in New England, while Jefferson was expected to win in the Southern states. In the end, Adams won the election by a narrow margin of 71 electoral votes to 68 for Jefferson (who became the vice president).Sony VAIO VGN-SR21M/S Battery

Presidency: 1797–1801

As President, Adams followed Washington's lead in making the presidency the example of republican values, and stressing civic virtue; he was never implicated in any scandal. Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/H Battery

Some historians consider his worst mistake to be keeping the old cabinet, which was controlled by Hamilton, instead of installing his own people, confirming Adams' own admission that he was a poor politician because he "was unpractised in intrigues for power."Sony VAIO VGN-SR21RM/S Battery

Yet, there are those historians who feel that Adams' retention of Washington's cabinet was a statesmanlike step to soothe worries about an orderly succession. As Adams himself explained, "I had then no particular object of any of them." Adams spent much of his term at his home in Massachusetts,Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/B Battery

ignoring the details of patronage and communication that were not ignored by his opponents in both parties.

Adams' combative spirit did not always lend itself to presidential decorum, as Adams himself admitted in his old age: "[As president] I refused to suffer in silence.Sony VAIO VGN-SR220J/H Battery

I sighed, sobbed, and groaned, and sometimes screeched and screamed. And I must confess to my shame and sorrow that I sometimes swore."

Adams continued not just the Washington cabinet but all the major programs of the Washington Administration as well. Sony VAIO VGN-SR240J/B Battery

Adams made no major new proposals. His economic programs were thus a continuation of those of Hamilton, who regularly consulted with key cabinet members, especially the powerful Secretary of the Treasury, Oliver Wolcott, Jr. Sony VAIO VGN-SR240N/B Battery

Foreign policy

Adams's term (1797–1801) was marked by intense disputes over foreign policy and a limited naval war with France. Britain and France were at war; Hamilton and the Federalists favored Britain, while Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans favored France.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTH Battery

When Adams entered office, he realized that he needed to protect Washington's policy of staying out of the French and British war. Indeed, the intense battle over the Jay Treaty in 1795 permanently polarized politics up and down the nation, marking the start of the First Party System, with most elections now contested.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTJ Battery

The French saw America as Britain's junior partner and began seizing American merchant ships that were trading with the British in what became known as the "Quasi-War." Neither nation declared war officially, but the risk was high and the Federalists re-armed the nation in preparation for war—and perhaps in preparation for suppressing the anti-war Republicans.Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTQ Battery

The humiliation of the XYZ Affair, in which the French demanded huge bribes (specifically $250,000 to French foreign minister Talleyrand) before any discussions could begin, led to serious threats of full-scale war with France and embarrassed the Jeffersonians, who were friends to France. Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVB/C Battery

An undeclared naval war between the U.S. and France, called the Quasi-War, broke out in 1798, and there was danger of invasion from the much larger and more powerful French forces. The Federalists built up the army, bringing back Washington as its head and Hamilton as its leading force. Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JVH/C Battery

Adams rebuilt the Navy, adding six fast, powerful frigates, such as USS Constitution. To pay for it all, Congress raised taxes.Nevertheless, Adams was extremely proud of having kept the nation out of war; later in life he even asked that his tombstone read "Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility of Peace with France in the year 1800."Sony VAIO VGN-SR290NTB Battery

Alien and Sedition Acts

Federalists in Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which were signed by Adams in 1798.

These four acts were passed to suppress Republican opposition. The Naturalization Act changed the period of residence required before an immigrant could attain American citizenship to 14 years (naturalized citizens tended to vote for the Democratic-Republicans). Sony VAIO

VGN-SR29VN/S Battery

The Alien Friends Act and the Alien Enemies Act allowed the president to deport any foreigner he thought dangerous to the country. The Sedition Act made it a crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the government or its officials.Sony VAIO VGN-SR29XN/S Battery

Punishments included 2–5 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. Although Adams had not originated or promoted any of these acts, he nevertheless signed them into law.

Those acts, and the high-profile prosecution of a number of newspaper editors and one member of Congress by the Federalists, became highly controversial. Sony VAIO VGN-SR2RVN/S Battery

Some historians have noted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were relatively rarely enforced, as only 10 convictions under the Sedition Act have been identified and as Adams never signed a deportation order, and that the furor over the Alien and Sedition Acts was mainly stirred up by the Democratic-Republicans.Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAB Battery

However, other historians[who?] emphasize that the Acts were highly controversial from the outset, resulting in many aliens leaving the country voluntarily, and created an atmosphere where opposing the Federalists, even on the floor of Congress, could and did result in prosecution. Sony VAIO VGN-SR390NAH Battery

The election of 1800 became a bitter and volatile battle, with each side expressing extraordinary fear of the other party and its policies.


The Federalist party was deeply divided over the leadership of the Army. Adams was forced to name Washington as commander of the new army, and Washington demanded that Hamilton be his second-in-command. Adams reluctantly gave in.Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/P Battery

Major General Hamilton assumed a high degree of control over the War department. The rift between Adams and the High Federalists (as Adams's opponents were called) grew wider. The High Federalists refused to consult Adams over the key legislation of 1798;Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/S Battery

they changed the defense measures which he had called for, demanded that Hamilton control the army, and refused to recognize the necessity of giving key Democratic-Republicans (like Aaron Burr) senior positions in the army (which Adams wanted to do to gain some Democratic-Republican support).Sony VAIO VGN-SR49VN/H Battery

By building a large standing army the High Federalists raised popular alarms and played into the hands of the Democratic-Republicans. They also alienated Adams and his large personal following. They shortsightedly viewed the Federalist party as their own tool and ignored the need to pull together the entire nation in the face of war with France.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/P Battery

For long stretches, Adams withdrew to his home in Massachusetts. In February 1799, Adams stunned the country by sending diplomat William Vans Murray on a peace mission to France. Napoleon, realizing the animosity of the United States was doing no good, signaled his readiness for friendly relations. Sony VAIO VGN-SR51B/S Battery

The Treaty of Alliance of 1778 was superseded and the United States could now be free of foreign entanglements, as Washington advised in his own Farewell Letter. Adams avoided war, but deeply split his own party in the process. He brought in John Marshall as Secretary of State and demobilized the emergency army.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF Battery

Fries's Rebellion

To pay for the new Army, Congress imposed new taxes on property: the Direct Tax of 1798. It was the first (and last) such federal tax. Taxpayers were angry, nowhere more so than in southeast Pennsylvania, where the bloodless Fries's Rebellion broke out among rural German-speaking farmers who protested what they saw as a threat to their republican liberties and to their churches.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/P Battery

Reelection campaign 1800

The death of Washington, in 1799, weakened the Federalists, as they lost the one man who symbolized and united the party. In the presidential election of 1800, Adams and his fellow Federalist candidate, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, went against the Republican duo of Jefferson and Burr. Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/S Battery

Hamilton tried his hardest to sabotage Adams's campaign in hopes of boosting Pinckney's chances of winning the presidency. In the end, Adams lost narrowly to Jefferson by 65 to 73 electoral votes, with New York casting the decisive vote.

Adams was defeated because of better organization by the Republicans and Federalist disunity;Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MF/W Battery

by the popular disapproval of the Alien and Sedition Acts, the popularity of his opponent, Jefferson, and the effective politicking of Aaron Burr in New York State, where the legislature (which selected the electoral college) shifted from Federalist to Democratic-Republican on the basis of a few wards in New York City controlled by Burr's machine.Sony VAIO VGN-SR51MR Battery

In the closing months of his term Adams became the first President to occupy the new, but unfinished President's Mansion (later known as the White House), beginning November 1, 1800. Since 1800 was not a leap year, he served one less day in office than all other one-term Presidents.Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG Battery

Midnight Judges

The lame-duck session of Congress enacted the Judiciary Act of 1801, which created a set of federal appeals courts between the district courts and the Supreme Court. The purpose of the statute was twofold -- first, to remedy the defects in the federal judicial system inherent in the Judiciary Act of 1789,Sony VAIO VGN-SR59VG/H Battery

and, second, to enable the defeated Federalists to staff the new judicial offices with loyal Federalists in the face of the party's defeat in presidential and congressional elections in 1800. As his term was expiring, Adams filled the vacancies created by this statute by appointing a series of judges,Sony VAIO VGN-SR70B/S Battery

whom his opponents called the "Midnight Judges" because most of them were formally appointed days before the presidential term expired. Most of these judges lost their posts when the Jeffersonian Republicans enacted the Judiciary Act of 1802, Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/P Battery

abolishing the courts created by the Judiciary Act of 1801 and returning the structure of the federal courts to its original structure as specified in the 1789 statute. Adams's greatest legacy was his naming of John Marshall as the fourth Chief Justice of the United States to succeed Oliver Ellsworth, who had retired due to ill health. Sony VAIO VGN-SR72B/S Battery

Marshall's long tenure represents the most lasting influence of the Federalists, as Marshall infused the Constitution with a judicious and carefully reasoned nationalistic interpretation and established the Judicial Branch as the equal of the Executive and Legislative branches.Sony VAIO VGN-SR73JB/S Battery

Post presidency

Following his 1800 defeat, Adams retired into private life. Depressed when he left office, he did not attend Jefferson's inauguration, making him one of only four surviving presidents (i.e., those who did not die in office) not to attend his successor's inauguration.Sony VAIO VGN-SR74FB/S Battery

Adams's correspondence with Jefferson at the time of the transition suggests that he did not feel the animosity or resentment that later scholars have attributed to him. He left Washington before Jefferson's inauguration as much out of sorrow at the death of his son Charles Adams (due in part to the younger man's alcoholism) and his desire to rejoin his wife Abigail,Sony VAIO VGN-SR90FS Battery

who had left for Massachusetts months before the inauguration. Adams resumed farming at his home, Peacefield, near the town of Quincy, which had absorbed his birthplace, Braintree. He began to work on an autobiography (which he never finished), and resumed correspondence with such old friends asBenjamin Waterhouse and Benjamin Rush.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90NS Battery

He also began a bitter and resentful correspondence with an old family friend, Mercy Otis Warren, protesting how in her 1805 history of the American Revolution she had, in his view, caricatured his political beliefs and misrepresented his services to the country.Sony VAIO VGN-SR90S Battery

After Jefferson's retirement from public life in 1809 after two terms as President, Adams became more vocal. For three years he published a stream of letters in the Boston Patriot newspaper, presenting a long and almost line-by-line refutation of an 1800 pamphlet by Hamilton attacking his conduct and character. Sony VAIO VGN-SR90US Battery

Though Hamilton had died in 1804 from a mortal wound sustained in his notorious duel with Aaron Burr, Adams felt the need to vindicate his character against the New Yorker's vehement attacks.

In early 1812, Adams reconciled with Jefferson.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91NS Battery

Their mutual friend Benjamin Rush, a fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence who had been corresponding with both, encouraged each man to reach out to the other. On New Year's Day 1812, Adams sent a brief, friendly note to Jefferson to accompany the delivery of "two pieces of homespun," a two-volume collection of lectures on rhetoric by John Quincy Adams. Sony VAIO VGN-SR91PS Battery

Jefferson replied immediately with a warm, friendly letter, and the two men revived their friendship, which they conducted by mail. The correspondence that they resumed in 1812 lasted the rest of their lives, and thereafter has been hailed as one of their greatest legacies and a monument of American literature.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91S Battery

Their letters are rich in insight into both the period and the minds of the two Presidents and revolutionary leaders. Their correspondence lasted fourteen years, and consisted of 158 letters. It was in these years that the two men discussed "natural aristocracy.Sony VAIO VGN-SR91US Battery

" Jefferson said, "The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society. And indeed it would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of society.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92NS Battery

May we not even say that the form of government is best which provides most effectually for a pure selection of these natural aristoi into the offices of government?" Adams wondered if it ever would be so clear who these people were, "Your distinction between natural and artificial aristocracy does not appear to me well founded.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92PS Battery

Birth and wealth are conferred on some men as imperiously by nature, as genius, strength, or beauty. . . . When aristocracies are established by human laws and honour, wealth, and power are made hereditary by municipal laws and political institutions, then I acknowledge artificial aristocracy to commence."Sony VAIO VGN-SR92S Battery

It would always be true, Adams argued, that fate would bestow influence on some men for reasons other than true wisdom and virtue. That being the way of nature, he thought such "talents" were natural. A good government, therefore, had to account for that reality.Sony VAIO VGN-SR92US Battery

Sixteen months before John Adams's death, his son, John Quincy Adams, became the sixth President of the United States (1825–1829), the only son of a former President to hold the office until George W. Bush in 2001.

Adams's daughter Abigail ("Nabby") was married to Representative William Stephens Smith, but she returned to her parents' home after the failure of her marriage.Sony VAIO VGN-SR93DS Battery

She died of breast cancer in 1813. His son Charles died as an alcoholic in 1800. Abigail, his wife, died of typhoid on October 28, 1818. His son Thomas and his family lived with Adams and Louisa Smith (Abigail's niece by her brother William) to the end of Adams's life.Sony VAIO VGN-SR93JS Battery


Less than a month before his death, John Adams issued a statement about the destiny of the United States, which historians such as Joy Hakim have characterized as a "warning" for his fellow citizens. Adams said:Sony VAIO VGN-SR93PS Battery

My best wishes, in the joys, and festivities, and the solemn services of that day on which will be completed the fiftieth year from its birth, of the independence of the United States: a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race,Sony VAIO VGN-SR93YS Battery

destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.

On July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Adams died at his home in Quincy. Sony VAIO VGN-SR94FS Battery

Told that it was the Fourth, he answered clearly, "It is a great day. It is a good day." His last words have been reported as "Thomas Jefferson survives". His death left Charles Carroll of Carrollton as the last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams died while his son John Quincy Adams was president.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94GS Battery

His crypt lies at United First Parish Church (also known as the Church of the Presidents) in Quincy. Originally, he was buried in Hancock Cemetery, across the road from the Church. Until his record was broken by Ronald Reagan in 2001, he was the nation's longest-living President (90 years, 247 days) maintaining that record for 175 years.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94HS Battery

Religious views

Adams was raised a Congregationalist, becoming a Unitarian at a time when most of the Congregational churches around Boston were turning to Unitarianism. Adams was educated at Harvard when the influence of deism was growing there, and used deistic terms in his speeches and writing.Sony VAIO VGN-SR94VS Battery

He believed in the essential goodness of the creation, but, being a Unitarian, his beliefs excluded the divinity of Christ. He also believed that regular church service was beneficial to man's moral sense. Sony VAIO VPC CW2MFX/PU Battery

Everett (1966) concludes that "Adams strove for a religion based on a common sense sort of reasonableness" and maintained that religion must change and evolve toward perfection.Fielding (1940) shows that Adams's beliefs synthesized Puritan, deist, and humanist concepts.Sony VAIO VPC S11V9E/B Battery

Adams thought Christianity had originally been revelatory, but was being misinterpreted and misused in the service of superstition, fraud, and unscrupulous power. Goff (1993) acknowledges Fielding's "persuasive argument that Adams never was a deist because he allowed the suspension of the laws of nature and believed that evil was internal, not the result of external institutions."Sony VAIO VPCB119GJ/B Battery

Frazer (2004) notes that, while Adams shared many perspectives with deists, "Adams clearly was not a deist. Deism rejected any and all supernatural activity and intervention by God; consequently, deists did not believe in miracles or God's providence....Adams, however, did believe in miracles, providence, and, to a certain extent, the Bible as revelation."Sony VAIO VPCB11AGJ Battery

Fraser concludes that Adams's "theistic rationalism, like that of the other Founders, was a sort of middle ground between Protestantism and deism." By contrast, David L. Holmes has argued that John Adams, beginning as a Congregationalist, ended his days as a Christian Unitarian,Sony VAIO VPCB11AVJ Battery

accepting central tenets of the Unitarian creed but also accepting Jesus as the redeemer of humanity and the biblical account of his miracles as true.

In common with many of his contemporaries, Adams criticized the claims to universal authority made by the Roman Catholic Church.Sony VAIO VPCB11V9E Battery

In 1796, Adams denounced political opponent Thomas Paine's criticisms of Christianity in his book The Age of Reason, saying, "The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity, let the Blackguard Paine say what he will."Sony VAIO VPCB11X9E Battery

The Unitarian Universalist Historical Society provides information about Adams's religious beliefs. They quote from his letter to Benjamin Rush, an early promoter of Universalist thought, "I have attended public worship in all countries and with all sects and believe them all much better than no religion, though I have not thought myself obliged to believe all I heard.Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/P Battery

" The Society also relates how Rush reconciled Adams to his former friend Thomas Jefferson in 1812, after many bitter political battles. This resulted in correspondence between Adams and Jefferson about many topics, including philosophy and religion. Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/R Battery

In one of these communications, Adams told Jefferson, "The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion." In another letter, Adams reveals his sincere devotion to God, "My Adoration of the Author of the Universe is too profound and too sincere. Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/W Battery

The Love of God and his Creation; delight, Joy, Tryumph, Exaltation in my own existence, tho' but an Atom, a molecule Organique, in the Universe, are my religion." He continues by revealing his Universalist sympathies, rejection of orthodox Christian dogma, and his personal belief that he was a true Christian for not accepting such dogma, Sony VAIO VPCCW19FJ/W Battery

"Howl, Snarl, bite, Ye Calvinistick! Ye Athanasian Divines, if You will. Ye will say, I am no Christian: I say Ye are no Christians: and there the Account is ballanced. Yet I believe all the honest men among you, are Christians in my Sense of the Word." The Society also demonstrates that Adams rejected orthodox Christian doctrines of the trinity, Sony VAIO VPCCW1AFJ Battery

predestination, yet equated human understanding and the human conscience to "celestial communication" or personal revelation from God. It is also shown that Adams held a strong conviction in life after death or otherwise, as he explained, "You might be ashamed of your Maker."Sony VAIO VPCCW1AHJ Battery


The first notable biography of John Adams appeared as the first two volumes of The Works of John Adams, Esq., Second President of the United States, edited by Charles Francis Adams and published between 1850 and 1856 by Charles C. Little and James Brown in Boston. Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E Battery

This biography's first seven chapters were the work of John Quincy Adams, but the rest of the biography was the work of Charles Francis Adams. The first modern biography was Honest John Adams, a 1933 biography by the noted French specialist in American history Gilbert Chinard, who came to Adams after writing his acclaimed 1929 biography of Thomas Jefferson.Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/B Battery

For a generation, Chinard's work was regarded as the best life of Adams, and it is still a key factor in determining the themes of Adams biographical and historical scholarship. Following the opening of the Adams family papers in the 1950s, Page Smith published the first major biography to use these previously inaccessible primary sources;Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/L Battery

his biography won a 1962 Bancroft Prize but was criticized for its scanting of Adams's intellectual life and its diffuseness. In 1975, Peter Shaw published The Character of John Adams, a thematic biography noted for its graceful prose and its psychological insight into Adams's life. Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/P Battery

The 1992 character study by Joseph J. Ellis, Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams, was Ellis's first major publishing success and remains one of the most useful and insightful studies of Adams's personality. In 1993, the Revolutionary War historian and biographer John E. Ferling published his acclaimed John Adams, Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/R Battery

also noted for its psychological sensitivity; many scholars regard it as the best biography to date. In 2001, the popular historian David McCulloughpublished a large biography of John Adams that won various awards and general acclaim and was developed into a 2008 TV miniseries).Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/W Battery

The most recent life, and one of the most thoughtful and accessible biographies of Adams, was John Adams, Party of One, a 2005 study by James Grant.

John Quincy Adams (/?kw?nzi/; July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was the sixth President of the United States (1825–1829).Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/B Battery

He was also an American diplomat and served in both the Senate and House of Representatives. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former President John Adams and Abigail Adams. Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/L Battery

As a diplomat, Adams was involved in many international negotiations, and as Secretary of State, he helped formulate the Monroe Doctrine. Historians agree he was one of the great diplomats in American history.

As president, he proposed a program of modernization and educational advancement,Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/R Battery

but Congress, controlled by his enemies, stymied him. Adams lost his 1828 bid for re-election to Andrew Jackson. In doing so, he became the first President since his father to serve a single term. As president, he envisioned a plan for national greatness resting on economic growth and a strong federal government,Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/W Battery

but his presidency was not a success as he lacked political adroitness, popularity or a network of supporters, and ran afoul of politicians eager to undercut him.

Adams is best known as a diplomat who shaped America's foreign policy in line with his conservative and ardently nationalist commitment to America's republican values.Sony VAIO VPCCW26EC Battery

More recently Howe (2007) portrayed Adams as the exemplar and moral leader in an era of modernization when new technologies and networks of infrastructure and communication brought to the people messages of religious revival, social reform, and party politics, as well as moving goods, money and people ever more rapidly and efficiently.Sony VAIO VPCCW26FX/B Battery

Adams was elected a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts after leaving office, the only president ever to be so, serving for the last 17 years of his life with far greater success than he had achieved in the presidency. Animated by his growing revulsion against slavery, Sony VAIO VPCCW28EC Battery

Adams became a leading opponent of the Slave Power and argued that if a civil war ever broke out the president could abolish slavery by using his war powers, a correct prediction of Abraham Lincoln's use of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/P Battery

Adams predicted the Union's dissolution over the slavery issue, but said that if the South became independent there would be a series of bloody slave insurrections.

Life as a Child

John Quincy Adams was born to John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams in what is now Quincy, Massachusetts. Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/R Battery

The John Quincy Adams Birthplace is now part of Adams National Historical Park and open to the public. He was named for his mother's maternal grandfather, Colonel John Quincy, after whomQuincy, Massachusetts, is named.

In 1779 Adams began a diary that he kept until just before he died in 1848. Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/W Battery

Adams first learned of the Declaration of Independence from the letters his father wrote his mother from the Second Continental Congress inPhiladelphia.

Much of Adams' youth was spent accompanying his father overseas. John Adams served as an American envoy to France from 1778 until 1779 and to theNetherlands from 1780 until 1782, and the younger Adams accompanied his father on these journeys.Sony VAIO VPCCW29FJ/W Battery

Adams acquired an education at institutions such as Leiden University. For nearly three years, at the age of 14, he accompanied Francis Dana as asecretary on a mission to St. Petersburg, Russia, to obtain recognition of the new United States. He spent time in Finland, Sweden, and Denmark and, in 1804, published a travel report of Silesia.Sony VAIO VPCCW2AFJ Battery

During these years overseas, Adams became fluent in French and Dutch and became familiar with German and other European languages. He enteredHarvard College and graduated in 1787 with an A.B., Phi Beta Kappa. Adams House at Harvard College is named in honor of Adams and his father. He later earned an A.M. from Harvard in 1780.Sony VAIO VPCCW2AHJ Battery

He apprenticed as a lawyer with Theophilus Parsons in Newburyport, Massachusetts, from 1787 to 1789. He was admitted to the bar in 1791 and beganpracticing law in Boston.

Early career

George Washington appointed Adams minister to the Netherlands (at the age of 26) in 1794 and Portugal in 1796. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E Battery

He then was promoted to the Berlin Legation. He became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1797.

When the elder Adams became president, he appointed his son in 1797 as Minister to Prussia at Washington's urging. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/B Battery

There Adams signed the renewal of the very liberal Prussian-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce after negotiations with Prussian Foreign Minister Count Karl-Wilhelm Finck von Finckenstein. He served at that post until 1801. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/L Battery

While serving abroad, Adams married Louisa Catherine Johnson, the daughter of an American merchant, in a ceremony at the church of All Hallows-by-the-Tower, London. Adams remains the only president to have a foreign-born First Lady. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/P Battery

On his return to the United States Adams was appointed a Commissioner of Bankruptcy in Boston by a Federal District Judge. However, Thomas Jeffersonrescinded this appointment. He again tried his hand as a lawyer, but shortly afterwards entered politics.Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/R Battery

John Quincy Adams was elected a member of the Massachusetts State Senate in April 1802. In November 1802 he ran as a Federalist for the United States House of Representatives and lost.

The Massachusetts General Court elected Adams as a Federalist to the U.S. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/W Battery

Senate soon after, and he served from March 4, 1803, until 1808, when he broke with the Federalist Party. Adams, as a Senator, had supported the Louisiana Purchase and Jefferson's Embargo Act, actions which made him very unpopular with Massachusetts Federalists. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S5C CN1 Battery

The Federalist-controlled Massachusetts Legislature chose a replacement for Adams on June 3, 1808, several months early. On June 8, Adams broke with the Federalists, resigned his Senate seat, and became a Democrat-Republican. While a member of the Senate, Adams also served as a professor of rhetoric at Harvard University.Sony VAIO VPCF112FX/B Battery

New President James Madison appointed Adams as the first ever United States Minister to Russia in 1809 (though Francis Dana and William Short had previously been nominated to the post, neither was able to present his credentials at St. Petersburg). Sony VAIO VPCF115FG/B Battery

Louisa Adams was with him in St. Petersburg almost the entire time. While not officially a diplomat, Louisa Adams did serve an invaluable role as wife-of-diplomat, becoming a favorite of the tsar and making up for her husband's utter lack of charm. She was an indispensable part of the American mission.Sony VAIO VPCF116FGBI Battery

Adams reported back to Washington in 1812 the news ofNapoleon's invasion of Russia and Napoleon's disastrous retreat. In 1814, Adams was recalled from Russia to serve as chief negotiator of the U.S. commission for the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain. Sony VAIO VPCF117FJ/W Battery

Finally, he was sent to be minister to the Court of St. James's (Britain) from 1815 until 1817, a post that had first been held by his father.

Secretary of State

Adams served as Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President James Monroe from 1817 until 1825, a tenure during which he was instrumental in the acquisition of Florida.Sony VAIO VPCF117HG/BI Battery

Typically, his views concurred with those espoused by Monroe. As Secretary of State, he negotiated the Adams-Onís Treaty and wrote the Monroe Doctrine, which warned European nations against meddling in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere.Sony VAIO VPCF118FJ/W Battery

Adams' negotiated a treaty with Britain for a joint patrol against the slave trade, but it was watered down by the Senate and ultimately rejected. On Independence Day 1821, in response to those who advocated American support for Spanish America'sindependence movement from Spain, Sony VAIO VPCF119FC Battery

Adams gave a speech in which he said that American policy was moral support for independence movements but not armed intervention. He stated that America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy." After the Napoleonic wars, Spain lost control of most of the American colonies. Sony VAIO VPCF119FC/BI Battery

They revolted and declared independence. Rebels used American ports to equip privateers to attack Spanish ships, a practice defended by Henry Clay, who severely criticized both Monroe and Adams for their more cautious wait-and-see policy.Sony VAIO VPCF119FJ/BI Battery

The Floridas, still Spanish territory but with no Spanish presence to speak of, became a refuge for runaway slaves and Indian raiders. Spain was not in charge.  Monroe sent in General Andrew Jackson who pushed the Seminole Indians south, executed two British merchants who were supplying weapons,Sony VAIO VPCF11AFJ Battery

deposed one governor and named another, and left an American garrison in occupation. Jackson thought he had Washington's approval, but the orders were vague. President Monroe and all his cabinet, except Adams, believed Jackson had exceeded his instructions. Sony VAIO VPCF11AGJ Battery

Secretary of War John C. Calhoun proposed to punish Jackson. Adams argued that since Spain had proved incapable of policing her territories, the United States was obliged to act in self-defense. Adams so ably justified Jackson's conduct as to silence protests either from Spain or Britain.Sony VAIO VPCF11AHJ Battery

Congress debated the question, with Clay as the leading opponent of Jackson, but it would not disapprove of what Jackson had done.

Adams negotiated the "Transcontinental Treaty" also known as the "Florida treaty" with Spain in 1819 that turned Florida over to the U.S. and resolved border issues regarding the Louisiana Purchase. Sony VAIO VPCF11JFX/B Battery

The treaty recognized Spanish control of Texas (a claim taken up by Mexico when it declared independence of Spain).

The post of Secretary of State was the normal path to the White House. After 1820 Adams, intent on winning the presidency, was less successful at the State Department.Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E Battery

He failed to make key commercial treaties because he feared the necessary American concessions would be used to attack his candidacy. Instead the nation suffered from trade wars that could have been prevented.

1824–25 presidential election

As the 1824 election drew near people began looking for candidates. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H Battery

New England voters admired Adams' patriotism and political skills and it was mainly due to their support that he entered the race. The old caucus system of the Democratic-Republican Party had collapsed; indeed the entire First Party System had collapsed and the election was a free-for-all based on regional support.Sony VAIO VPCF11MFX/B Battery

Adams had a strong base in New England. His opponents included John C. Calhoun,William H. Crawford, Henry Clay and the hero of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson. During the campaign Calhoun dropped out, and Crawford fell ill giving further support to the other candidates. Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E Battery

When the election day came, Andrew Jackson won, although narrowly, pluralities of the popular and electoral votes, but not the necessary majority of electoral votes.

Under the terms of the Twelfth Amendment, the presidential election fell to the House of Representatives, which was to choose from the top three candidates:Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B Battery

Jackson, Adams, and Crawford. Clay had come in fourth place and thus was ineligible, but he retained considerable power and influence as Speaker of the House. Crawford was unviable due to a stroke.

Clay's personal dislike for Jackson and the similarity of his American System to Adams' position on tariffs and internal improvements caused him to throw his support to Adams,Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E Battery

who was elected by the House on February 9, 1825, on the first ballot. Adams' victory shocked Jackson, who had won the most electoral and popular votes and fully expected to be elected president. When Adams appointed Clay as Secretary of State—the position that Adams and his three predecessors had held before becoming President—Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI Battery

Jacksonian Democrats were outraged, and claimed that Adams and Clay had struck a "corrupt bargain." This contention overshadowed Adams' term and greatly contributed to Adams' loss to Jackson four years later, in the 1828 election. 

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