John Adams is a man that was known for many things during his time. His political views, philosophy, and the belief that every man was innocent until proven guilty proved to be ahead of his times, drawing both praise and criticism from supporters and opposition. This extraordinary man is well known for being the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before that, he was the vice president under George Washington’s tenure. A politician and statesman, he was also an American diplomat, writer, and Founding Father. As president, he kept the United States of America at peace when many were calling for war with France. John Adams later described his peace decision as “the most splendid diamond in my crown.”
John had a public career both before and after his White House years. As a diplomat, he set the essential marks of American foreign policy for the next century: freedom of the seas, a halt to further European colonization in the Western Hemisphere, continental expansion, reciprocal trade, and isolationism from European affairs. His formidable skills as an international diplomat ushered in two generations of peace with Europe.
A Brief Bio of John Adams
John Adams was born on the 30th of October, 1735 in Braintree, Massachusetts, the United States of America. As the eldest child, he was compelled to obtain a formal education. This began at age six at a Dame school for boys and girls, conducted at a teacher’s home, and was centered upon The New England Primer. Shortly thereafter, Adams attended Braintree Latin School under Joseph Cleverly, where studies included Latin, rhetoric, logic, and arithmetic. John’s early education included incidents of truancy, a dislike for his master, and a desire to become a farmer.
At age sixteen, Adams entered Harvard College in 1751, studying under Joseph Mayhew. As an adult, John Adams was a keen scholar, studying the works of ancient writers such as Thucydides, Plato, Cicero, and Tacitus in their original languages. After his 1755 graduation with an A.B. degree, he taught school temporarily in Worcester, while pondering his permanent vocation. He decided to become a lawyer to attain greatness and wrote a letter to his father explaining that he had noble goals in pursuing this career path.
In 1756, Adams began reading law under James Putnam, a leading lawyer in Worcester. In 1758, he earned an A.M. from Harvard and was soon admitted to the bar, having completed his studies under Putnam. He developed an early habit of writing about events and impressions of men in his diary.
In 1763, Adams explored various aspects of political theory in seven essays written for Boston newspapers. He offered them anonymously, under the pen name “Humphrey Ploughjogger”, and in them ridiculed the selfish thirst for power he perceived among the Massachusetts colonial elite. His influence emerged from his work as a constitutional lawyer, his analysis of history, and his dedication to republicanism.
Who Are John Adams Family?
Regarding John Adams’ family, he was born to parents John Adams Sr. and Susanna Boylston. He had two younger brothers, Peter and Elihu. John was born on the family farm in Braintree, Massachusetts. His mother was from a leading medical family of present-day Brookline, Massachusetts. His father was a deacon in the Congregational Church, a farmer, a cordwainer, and a lieutenant in the militia. John Sr. as he was popularly referred to, served as a town councilman and supervised the building of schools and roads. John often praised his father and recalled their close relationship. His great-grandfather, Henry Adams emigrated to Massachusetts from Braintree, Essex, England around 1638.
Details on His Wife and Children
In the late 1750s, Adams fell in love with Hannah Quincy; while they were alone, he was poised to propose but was interrupted by friends, and the moment was lost. In 1759, he met 15-year-old Abigail Smith, his third cousin, through his friend Richard Cranch, who was courting Abigail’s older sister. In time, he grew close to Abigail and they were married on the 25th of October, 1764, despite the opposition of Abigail’s haughty mother. They shared a love of books and kindred personalities that proved honest in their praise and criticism of each other.
Business and politics separated John Adams from his wife and family for much of the time. When Adams was a young lawyer, his travels to distant villages on the court circuit kept him away. Even when he was at home, Abigail scolded him for staying out late at night while attending various meetings. After 1776, he spent weeks and months abroad or in Philadelphia on government business.
Abigail Adams gave birth to six children, three daughters, and three sons. All three of his sons became lawyers. Charles and Thomas Adams were unsuccessful, became alcoholics, and died before old age. Only John Quincy excelled and launched a career in politics. Of his 3 daughters, Susanna Adams died when she was one year old, while Elizabeth Adams was stillborn. Abigail Amelia Adams was born nine months after her parents married and due to the fact that she was the only daughter, she was her mother’s closest companion.