John Adams was the second President of the United States, but being President was not the only reason the man is worth studying today. He was one of the most influential presidents, and his role in politics greatly affects our lives today.
1. Vice President elected President
John Adams was the VP to George Washington. However, in addition to being the Vice President to our country’s first President, is that he was also one of a very select few Vice Presidents who were later elected President.
2. First to live in the White House
Adams was the first President to live in the White House. Today it is taken for granted that the President is going to live in the White House. However, Adams and his family moved in before the building was completely finished, and started this tradition. The family moved in November of 1800.
3. His role in unpopular legislation
John Adams is well known for more than the good he did, he is also well known because he played a role in some of the most unpopular legislation. For example, he signed the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which limited free speech and dissent.
4. Signed the Declaration of Independence
Adams was a member of the first and second Continental Congresses, and was a part of the drafting of the Constitution, and also signed the Declaration of Independence. One of the reasons this is notable is that he was one of two people who signed the Declaration that later became President of this country.
5. Lost to Thomas Jefferson
John Adams was a rival to his successor Thomas Jefferson, and due to his disappointment at losing an election to him, and the fact that he was in mourning over the death of his son Charles, he chose not to attend the inauguration of Jefferson. He is one of only three Presidents not to attend the successor’s inauguration, and was the first to not do so.
6. Midnight judges
One thing Adams was well known for was his last minute move to appoint several conservative judges in 1800. He made this unpopular move in the last few hours of his presidency, raising questions about his motivation, and labeling the judges appointed the “midnight judges”. It was thought that these appointments were meant to sabotage Jefferson because of their poor relations and fierce rivalry.
7. The Treaty of Paris
Adams was commissioner to France in 1778, 1782, and 1783. During this time he helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris which ended the American War of Independence. In addition to his relations with France, he was also the American minister to Great Britain, and helped to form international relations that were very important. During this time, it was difficult to maintain international ties, and Adams was a skilled negotiator.
8. Son was also President
One thing that makes John Adams a notable person is that both he and his son, John Quincy Adams were President of the United States of America. Just like many other aspects of his Presidency, this was unique. In fact, until 2000 when George W. Bush was elected, Adams and his son were the only father and son who both became president.
9. Date of his death
John Adams died on July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In addition to the historical significance of the date of his death is the interesting fact that his lifelong rival Thomas Jefferson also died the same day.
One notable thing that John Adams did was that he was part of the committee that drafted the Constitution. The Constitution is a huge part of our life today, and John Adams revolutionary thinking and forward progress are a big part of why we have the country we have today.
Learn more with these John Adams websites.