Scramblin' thru... the U.S. Presidents
"The Atlas of Independence"
"The Colossus of Independence"
"Old Sink or Swim"
Career BEFORE Presidency:
teacher, lawyer, diplomat, Vice President under Washington
Career AFTER Presidency:
Election of 1796
Election of 1800
A Presidential Life in Review
John Adams was a leader of the American Revolution and served as the 2nd U.S. President from 1797 to 1801. The Massachusetts-born, Harvard-educated Adams began his career as a lawyer. Intelligent, patriotic, opinionated and blunt, Adams became a critic of Britain's authority in colonial America and viewed the British imposition of high taxes and tariffs as a tool of oppression. After serving as America's 1st Vice President under George Washington, Adams was given a chance to steer the ship. Adams' bullheaded nature, which had served him well during the Revolution, did not work as Commander-in-Chief. Comparisons to Washington, foreign crises with Britain and France, and the ill-advised Alien and Sedition Acts, doomed Adam's tenure in office. He was defeated for another term by Thomas Jefferson. After his Presidency, Adams had a long and productive retirement, spending the rest of his days writing books and letters until his death on July 4, 1826... the Declaration's 50th anniversary. Source: The History Channel
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John Adams Fun Facts
Adams was the great-great-grandson of John and Priscilla Alden, Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
As a well-respected lawyer, Adams was chosen to defend the British soldiers who were charged with murder in the Boston Massacre of 1770. Even though he disagreed with British policies, he wanted to ensure the British soldiers got a fair trial. Through his able defense, only two of the nine were found guilty of manslaughter and none were sent to jail. (Do you understand how impressive that was? Charges reduced to manslaughter?! As in the soldiers didn't mean to kill anyone?! They fired double-loaded muskets at point-blank range into a crowd... and "didn't mean to kill anyone"?! Well done, sir! Well done!)
Adams was the first President to reside in the White House after the nation's capital moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. Adams moved into the building in November 1800... while the paint was still wet. Abigail Adams had to hang her laundry in the East Room to dry. The building was originally referred to variously as the "President's Palace", "Presidential Mansion", or "President's House". The earliest evidence of the public calling it the "White House" was recorded in 1811. A myth emerged that during the rebuilding of the structure after the Burning of Washington, white paint was applied to mask the burn damage it had suffered, giving the building its namesake hue. The name "Executive Mansion" was used in official contexts until President Theodore Roosevelt established the formal name by having "White House–Washington" engraved on the stationery in 1901.
"John" Adams and "Samuel "Adams (the famous brewer and trouble maker) were second cousins. This meant they had the same great-grandfather and grandmother.
Adams and his wife, Abigail, were related. They were third cousins and had known each other since they were children. (Your third cousin is your mother's niece's or nephew's son's or daughter's son or daughter. Got that?)
Seventeen U.S. Presidents did not have middle names. Adams was one of them.
Adams' son, John Quincy Adams, became the 6th President. Just like his father, John Quincy would only last one term. George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, are the other father-son Presidential combo.
The name most associated with the Declaration of Independence is Thomas Jefferson's. Adams, however, contributed significantly to its actual content, and Jefferson later admitted that the document itself was "the brainchild of John Adams". (Of course, we know they both ripped off John Locke, but, that's a debate for another day...)
At the time of the Election of 1796, candidates for President and Vice President did not run by party but ran individually. Whomever received the most votes became President and whomever picked up the second most was Vice President. Even though Thomas Pinckney was hoping to be Adams' Vice President, Thomas Jefferson came in second... just three votes short of winning. They served together for four years, the only time in U.S. history that political opponents served in the top two executive positions. (Adams was a Federalist and Jefferson was a Democratic-Republican.) The 12th Amendment fixed this before the next election.
Adams did not attend the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson, whom he had lost to in the Election of 1800. He was still disappointed in his loss and was also grieving the death of his son, Charles.
Despite being political rivals, Adams and Thomas Jefferson became good friends after their Presidencies. As the only two Presidents to sign the Declaration of Independence, both Adams and Jefferson died on the same day... July 4, 1826... the 50th Anniversary of the country's independence. Adams' dying words were "Thomas Jefferson survives." Jefferson, however, had passed a few hours earlier.
Adams is the third longest living President (aside from the former Presidents that are still alive today), dying at 33,119 days (or 90 years & 247 days). Ronald Reagan is #2, having lived 34,088 days (or 93 years & 120 days). Gerald Ford took the top spot at 34,133 days (93 years & 165 days).
Adams loved to smoke and drink. He started smoking at age 8 and drinking beer regularly for breakfast when he was 15 (and a Freshman at Harvard). Go figure he lived to be 90...