John Adams was the second president of the United States and was one of the most influential presidents. He was involved with the drafting of the Constitution and played a very important role in the formation of the United States.
1. Vice President elected
John Adams was the vice president to George Washington and was the first vice president to be elected as president. This is still not a very common occurrence and was particularly important because it followed George Washington.
2. First to live in the White House
Adams was the first president to live in the White House. He and his family moved in before the building was completely finished. It is said that they got lost in the woods around the White House for several hours before they actually found their way there for the first time. The Adams’ moved into the White House in November of 1800 when the house was still unfinished.
3. Unpopular legislation
John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. These pieces of legislation were unpopular because they limited free speech and dissent. This was taken very seriously because free speech was valued very much by the American people.
4. Signed the Declaration of Independence
Adams was involved in politics even before the Declaration of Independence was drafted. He was a member of the first and second Continental Congresses. John Adams was very important even before he became president. He was involved with the drafting of the Constitution and also signed the Declaration of Independence. He was one of two people who signed the Declaration that became president.
5. Didn’t attend the inauguration of his successor
John Adams was rivals with Thomas Jefferson and was very disappointed that he lost the election to him. He was very disappointed that he lost to Jefferson and was also grieving the death of his son Charles at the same time as the inauguration. He is one of only three presidents not to attend the successor’s inauguration.
6. Last minute appointment of judges
One very unpopular move that Adams made was to appoint several conservative judges in 1800 in the last few hours of his presidency. Many people question his motives for doing this and they call those who were appointed the midnight judges. This move was very unpopular with the incoming president and staff and many people believed that he was trying to sabotage Thomas Jefferson because of their rivalry.
7. Relations with France and England
Adams was commissioner to France in 1778 and in 1782 and 1783, he helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris which ended the American War of Independence. He was also the American minister to Great Britain from 1785 to 1788. International relations were very important and also very difficult to maintain at the time, so it took a great deal of skill as a negotiator to do well at this job.
8. Father and son
Both John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams were both president of the United States of America. Until 2000 when George W. Bush was elected, Adams and his son were the only father and son who both became president. This has only happened twice in the history of America.
9. Retirement and old age
In 1801, Adams retired to Quincy, Massachusetts. He was one of only two presidents who has lived beyond the age of 90 years. He left a legacy that very few people will ever forget and helped America become what it is today
John Adams died on July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He died the same day as his lifelong rival Thomas Jefferson. His contribution to America both before and after the Revolution were very important and he was seen as a revolutionary thinker and took action on many things that other people simply wouldn’t have done.
Learn more with these John Adams websites.