John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826). American lawyer and political leader, considered one of the founding fathers of that nation, along with George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, among others.
Once Britain’s Independence was achieved, Adams was the first vice president of the United States. He was also the second President of his nation, succeeding George Washington in the presidency.
John Adams, Jr. was born on October 30, 1735, in the town of Baintrée, present-day Quincy, located in Massachusetts. He was the eldest of three children of humble Puritan marriage between John Adams and his wife Susanna Boylston.
His father was engaged in agriculture, while exercising as A Cleric, a path he hoped was followed by his son, although he was not entirely sure to please his father. Very little is known about his childhood. In 1751, at the age of sixteen, he entered Harvard University, from where he graduated in 1755.
During the immediate years he devoted himself to teaching in Worcester. Years of vocational reflection yielded a result, and John Adams decided on a career as a lawyer, for which he entered James Putnam’s office.
Finally in 1758 he obtained his Master of Laws from Harvard University and was admitted to the Bar.
From the early years of his career, Adams identified with the patriotic cause, with opposition to the Timbre Act of 1765 being his first public act for independence. In this regard, he addressed to the British Parliament, the Essay on Canon and Feudal Law, which was published in the Boston Gazette. He also gave a speech to the governor of Massachusetts, declaring this law invalid.
On October 25, 1764, he married Abigail Smith Adams, with whom he had six children: John Quincy (who became the sixth president of the United States) Susanna, Charles, Thomas, and Elizabeth, who was stillborn in 1777. However, his large family could not live entirely with his wife Abigail until after his retirement from public life.
However, as pointed out by historians, the couple took it as a sacrifice to the independence cause.
In 1770 his career led him to defend British soldiers, accused of killing five civilians, during the Boston Massacre. His actions led to the acquittal of four of the defendants and the conviction of two of them, charged with murder. Adams was consono with his belief that anyone had the right to the defense, notwithstanding the political context of this case, he harmed his career as a lawyer.
However, a few months later, he was selected as a member of the Massachusetts Assembly. Later, in 1774, he was elected as one of the five representatives of the colony to the First Continental Congress. A year later, Adams chose George Washington as Commander of the Continental Army.
Similarly, in 1776 he was appointed to write the preamble to a resolution which proposed that each colony adopt an independent government, which served as a direct antedent to the Declaration of Independence.
On June 7, 1776, he strongly supported the Richard Henry Lee resolution, holding his position until Congress’s approval of the resolution on July 2, 1776. He was subsequently appointed with Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin to draft the Declaration of Independence Act. Since then he has become one of the most active members of Congress.
A year later, in 1777, he was appointed Chief of the War Board and Ordinance, whose main function was to oversee the Continental Army. Three years later, in 1979, he formed part of the American diplomatic delegation, which set off for Europe, to negotiate the statutes of the Treaty of Paris, the signing of which ended the War of Independence.
Once he achieved his task, he remained on European soil for a decade, making new trade treaties with different nations. In 1785 he was appointed Minister in England, being the first American to hold this position in the British nation.
Upon his return to the United States, in 1789, he participated in the first U.S. presidential election, which he lost to George Washington. According to the new Constitution he was appointed vice president, a position for which he was re-elected in the suffrage of 1792.
Presidency of the United States
Finally, in 1796, he participated as a presidential candidate on the federalist side, winning the Presidency of the United States, against Thomas Jefferson, whom he beat by a narrow margin. John Adams then became the second president-elect of the United States.
His government distinguished itself by diplomatic efforts to revive trade relations with France, which was at war with England. France’s request to the United States, for this nation to pay a high figure to achieve what is needed, ignited the spirits of American citizens, who demanded to declare war.
Adams managed to keep the peace going. He ran for re-election in 1800, however he did not win, losing to Thomas Jefferson.
Enjoying very low popularity, he decided to retire from public life, moving to his farm in Quincy, to live quietly with his wife Abigail. Fifty years after the Declaration of Independence, on July 4, 1826, John Adams died at the age of ninety-one, at his home.
According to historians, his last words were “Thomas Jefferson survives.” Ironically, this other father from the homeland, with whom Adams had reconciled after political differences, had died only a few hours earlier.
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August 14, 2019