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John Adams, facts about John Adams

Adams, John (1735-1826), was the first vice president and the second president of the United States. He served as president from 1797 to 1801. A courageous and able but uncompromising man, he was devoted to the cause of American independence. John Adams was born in Braintree, Massachusetts (now the town of Quincy). Trained as a lawyer, in 1770 he successfully defended British soldiers involved in the 'Boston massacre'. Adams' willingness to take an unpopular position because he thought it right increased his prestige.

John Adams, facts about John Adams

John Adams, facts about John Adams

Portrait of John Adams, the first vice president and the second president of the United States

Adams became a member of the Continental Congress, and helped to draft the Declaration of Independence. He spent much of the Revolutionary War in Europe, ably representing the Continental government. Like George Washington, Adams was a member of the Federalist Party. When Washington was unanimously elected as the first president in 1788, Adams was chosen as vice president. Both were reelected in 1792. The Federalists supported the concept of a strong federal government in the United States. The Democrat-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson, opposed them. In the election of 1796, Adams narrowly defeated Jefferson and became president.

He had a difficult presidency. France and England were at war, and fighting also occurred between French and American ships. The dominant faction of the Federalist Party, led by Alexander Hamilton, clamored for war against France. Adams insisted that the United States remain neutral, and lost popularity. During his term, Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which restricted freedom of speech. Disliked by the people, Adams lost the next election to Jefferson.

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