John Adams

Beyond being the second president of the United States, John Adams was one of the founders of our country. Adams fought for the independence of what would become the United States by being a delegate to the Continental Congress and was later part of the team that designed and wrote the Declaration of Independence. He is one of only two that signed the Declaration that continued to become president.

John Adams was born in 1735 in Braintree, Massachusetts. He was influenced by his father, who was a craftsman and farmer that was also Speaker of the Massachusetts Bay legislature. John was smart, and his father emphasized education, sending John to Harvard, where he studied law.

When John returned to Massachusetts, he practiced law but was emotionally distressed about British rule. He knew that the colonies were being unfairly treated and felt strongly about independence from them.

John became a member of the Massachusetts legislature and was the delegate for the Second Continental Congress. During this time, he worked with Thomas Jefferson on crafting the Declaration of Independence.

Freedom doesn’t often come easy, and when the American Revolution occurred, John and his wife Abigail exchanged over 1,000 informative letters. Abigail was intelligent and had a lot of common sense and was influential in advising John.

During the war, John Adams went to Europe in search of money for the way and in the hopes of getting other countries as allies for the developing new country. He worked with Benjamin Franklin and John Jay on the Treaty of Paris, a document that helped to end the Revolutionary War.

When John returned from Europe and the United States was founded, George Washington selected John as the first Vice President. Since all of this was new, there was little for John to do, and he found it boring.

When George Washington decided to step down as president, John Adams ran for the office and just barely won in 1767 over Thomas Jefferson.

John and Abigail Adams were the first First Couple to reside in the White House. It was completely bare and not finished. Abigail did her laundry in the house and was forced to hang the laundry inside so that it wasn’t displayed on the outside lawn.

During the time that John Adams was president, he had the main success of keeping the newly formed United States out of conflict with France. Both Great Britain and France were warring with each other, and both countries wanted assistance from the United States.

The war was a problem for Adams because the U.S. public was divided. After all, France had helped establish the United States. Adams decided to keep the country out of the war, which harmed his popularity.


Where did they live?

John and Abigail had six children, two of whom died very young. One of their sons, John Quincy Adams, went on to become President of the United States.

John lived to be 90 years old, and in an amazing twist of fate, both he and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day of July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence approval.

John Adams last words on his deathbed were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” He was unaware that Jefferson had died only a few hours prior.

What did you learn?

What university to John Adams attend?


What was the main success that John Adams achieved during his presidency?

Keeping the U.S. out of war

Who did John Adams run against for the position of the 2nd president?

Thomas Jefferson

What main contributions did John Adams give to the development of the new country of the United States?

Being a delegate to the Continental Congress and was later part of the team that designed and wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Which of John and Abigail Adams’ sons went on to become President of the United States?

John Quincy Adams

What important document did John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay work on that ended the Revolutionary War?

Treaty of Paris