Wikijunior:American Founding Fathers/John Adams

John Adams

Who is this?Edit

John Adams, 1st vice president, vice president of George Washington (1789 - 1797) and the 2nd president of the United States (1797 - 1801).

What did he do that made him important?Edit

Boston MassacareEdit

After the Boston Massacre, when British soldiers fired onto a mob of colonists, John Adams chose to be the lawyer of the British soldiers. He was able to convince the jury that 6 of the 8 soldiers were not guilty.


Massachusetts sent John Adams to the first and second Continental Congresses in 1774 and from 1775 to 1778. In June 1775, 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 wanted the United States to have a permanent separation from Britain.


John Adams was the second president of the United States. He was elected President after serving as America's first Vice President from 1789–1797 for two terms. He opponents in his race for the presidential election were Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Pinckney.

John Adams was selected to be a part of a committee with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman to make a draft of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. As a representative of Congress in Europe, he was a major negotiator of the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain.

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.

What did he do when he was young?Edit

John Adams was born on October 30, 1735 in Massachusetts. Adams went to Harvard College at age sixteen.His father wanted him to become a minister, but Adams hadn't figured out what he wanted to be yet. After graduating in 1755, he taught school for a few years in Worcester and then decided to become a lawyer and studied law in the office of James Putnam, a prominent lawyer in Worcester.

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.

In 1764, Adams married Abigail Smith and had six children with her, one of them being future president John Quincy Adams. Adams was not a popular leader like his second cousin, Samuel Adams. Instead, his got followeres through his work as a constitutional lawyer.

What did he do afterward?Edit

After Adams was defeated for reelection by Thomas Jefferson, he retired to Massachusetts. He and his wife Abigail Adams founded an accomplished family line of politicians, diplomats, and historians now referred to as the Adams political family. His achievements have received greater recognition in modern times, though his contributions were not initially as celebrated as other Founders'.

How do we remember him today?Edit

The John Adams television show, and George Washington (John was the one to nominate him as Commander in Chief).