JOHN ADAMS Sr. (1735-1826) American
2nd US President
Son of a farmer and a deacon he was born to a modest family. His father expected him to become a minister, but Adams had doubts. After graduating in 1755, he decided to become a lawyer and studied law in the office of James Putnam, a prominent lawyer in Worcester. He was on the rise in his practice when Revolution intervened. He was 39 when he took his seat n the first Continental Congress (1774)and 66 when he finally returned to private life. One of his important contribution to the nation was to steer the Declaration of Independence* through congress. He served as Vice President under George Washington and later as the Second President of the new Nation, more or less continued Washington’s policy. He made the presidency the example of republican values and stressing civic virtue he followed his lead in staying out of the French and British war. Some historians consider his worst mistake was in keeping the old cabinet, which was controlled by Hamilton, instead of installing his own people, confirming Adams’ own admission he was a poor politician because he “was unpractised in intrigues for power.”
Elected by the Federalist he was more in tune with Thomas Jefferson (who was his vice President) than with Hamilton. His refusal to be drawn into a war with France while the Federalists were anti-French, cost him a second term as the president.
Declaration of Independence
On June 7, 1776, Adams seconded the resolution of independence introduced by Richard Henry Lee that “these colonies are, and of a 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. Although Jefferson primarily wrote the document It was Adam’s vigorous defense and efforts that got it passed in the Congress. 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.”
Trivia: He was the first President to occupy the White House.
(For the portrait of the President see My latest Portraits posted earlier in the day-b)