Boston, Massachusetts , United States
|| October 30, 1735
|| July 04, 1826
Apr 16, 2008 04:09pm
Caucasian - Married - Unitarian - Straight -
|Info||2nd President of the United States (1797?1801) |
b. Quincy, Mass.
grad. Harvard, 1755
Father of 6th President, John Quincy Adams
A plain-spoken lawyer, scrupulously honest and dauntingly erudite, Adams emerged into politics as an opponent of the Stamp Act and, after moving to Boston, was a leader in the Revolutionary group opposing the British measures that were to lead to the American Revolution. Sent (1774) to the First Continental Congress, he distinguished himself, and in the Second Continental Congress he was a moderate but forceful revolutionary. He proposed George Washington as commander in chief of the Continental troops to bind Virginia more tightly to the cause for independence. He favored the Declaration of Independence, was a member of its drafting committee, and argued eloquently for the document.
As a diplomat seeking foreign aid for the newly established nation, he had a thorny career. Appointed (1777) to succeed Silas Deane as a commissioner to France, he accomplished little before going home (1779) to become a major figure in the Massachusetts constitutional convention. He then returned (1779) to France, where he quarreled with Vergennes and was able to lend little assistance to Benjamin Franklin in his peace efforts. His attempts to negotiate a loan from the Netherlands were fruitless until 1782.
Adams was one of the negotiators who drew up the momentous Treaty of Paris (1783; see Paris, Treaty of) to end the American Revolution. After this service he obtained another Dutch loan and then was envoy (1785?88) to Great Britain, where he met with British coldness and unwillingness to discuss the problems growing out of the treaty. He asked for his own recall and ended a significant but generally discouraging diplomatic career.
In the United States once more, he was chosen Vice President and served throughout George Washington's administration (1789?97). Although he inclined to conservative policies, he functioned somewhat as a balance wheel in the partisan contest between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. In the 1796 election Adams was chosen to succeed Washington as President despite the surreptitious opposition of Hamilton.
The Adams administration was one of crisis and conflict, in which the President showed an honest and stubborn integrity, and though allied with Hamilton and the conservative property-respecting Federalists, he was not dominated by them in their struggle against the vigorously rising, more broadly democratic forces led by Jefferson. Though the Federalists were pro-British and strongly opposed to post-Revolutionary France, Adams by conciliation prevented the near war of 1798 (see XYZ Affair) from developing into a real war between France and the United States. Nor did the President wholeheartedly endorse the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), aimed at the Anti-Federalists. He was, however, detested by his Jeffersonian enemies, and in the election of 1800 he and Hamilton were both overwhelmed by the tide of Jeffersonian democracy.
After 1801 Adams lived in retirement at Quincy, issuing sober and highly respected political statements and writing and receiving many letters, notably those to and from Jefferson. Their famous correspondence was edited by Lester J. Cappon in The Adams-Jefferson Letters (1959).
Presidential Elector (F-MA) 1820. Presided over the electoral college in Massachusetts. Cast his electoral vote for James Monroe for President.
By remarkable coincidence he and Jefferson died on the same day, Independence Day, July 4, 1826.
First Appeared on a United States Postage Stamp in 1938.
Vote totals for elections in which was nominated for the Hall of Fame for Great Americans (1900-1965): 1900-62.
||74.00% ( 0.0)
||9.00% ( 0.0)
||16.00% ( 0.0)