Better Know A President: John Adams

10 02 2009

For the 1st edition of Better Know A President, go here:


-Elected from Massachusetts.

-Served only one-term from 1797 -1801.

-Samuel Adams, his second cousin, was more widely popular than John was. Probably because of the great beer.

-Defended the British soldiers who were involved in the Boston Massacre.

-Served as the first American Ambassador to Great Britain.

-Wrote Massachusetts’ Constitution, along with Samuel Adams and James Bowdin.

-The most ardent, outspoken supporter of the Declaration of Independence in Congress, prior to its ratification.

-The first Vice-President, serving under Washington.

-He did not campaign for his own Presidency, calling the whole process “a silly and wicked game”. He narrowly beat out Thomas Jefferson, who would go on to defeat Adams in the next election.

-The Alien and Sedition Acts were a large reason he lost his second election. They were very unpopular during this election. Jefferson called it unconstitutional, because it violated the 10th Amendment. Of the four parts to these Acts, only one still is in effect: The Alien Enemies Act. This act authorized the president to apprehend and deport resident aliens if their home countries were at war with the United States of America.


Adams’s grandiose presidential style contrasted sharply with the simple elegance of the Washington establishment – members of which once circulated a scandalous rumor that he had sent General Charles C. Pinckney to Great Britain with the express purpose of selecting four pretty girls to bring home as mistresses: two for the general and two for himself. “If this be true,” Adams complained to a friend, “General Pinckney has kept them all for himself and cheated me out of my share!”

Although failing fast, Adams was determined to survive until the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence—July 4, 1826. At dawn on that day he was awakened by his servant, who asked if he knew what day it was. He replied, “Oh, yes, it is the glorious fourth of July. God bless it. God bless you all.” He then slipped into a coma. In the afternoon he recovered consciousness briefly to murmur: “Thomas Jefferson lives.” These were his last words. Unknown to him, Thomas Jefferson died that same day.

Even his own wife, his beloved Abigail, he [President John Adams] excoriated publicly for singing like a canary and looking like a pigeon when she walked. It was widely believed, in fact, that his commitment to laying the foundation for our independent country was mostly an excuse to get away from his wife, from whom at one point he stayed away for well on four years.”


A desire to be observed, considered, esteemed, praised, beloved, and admired by his fellows is one of the earliest as well as the keenest dispositions discovered in the heart of man.

Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.

Fear is the foundation of most governments.

Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.




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