John Adams

2nd President John Adams, 1797-18012nd President John Adams, 1797-18012nd President John Adams, 1797-18012nd President John Adams, 1797-18012nd President John Adams, 1797-1801

2nd President of the United States
(March 4, 1797 to March 3, 1801)

Full Name: John Adams
Nickname: "Atlas of Independence"

Born: October 30, 1735, in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts
Died: July 4, 1826, in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts

Father: John Adams
Mother: Susanna Boylston Adams
Married: Abigail Smith (1744-1818), on October 25, 1764
Children: Abigail Amelia Adams (1765-1813); John Quincy Adams (1767-1848); Susanna Adams (1768-70); Charles Adams (1770-1800); Thomas Boylston Adams (1772-1832)

Religion: Unitarian
Education: Graduated from Harvard College (1755)
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Federalist
Other Government Positions:

  • Member of Continental Congress, 1774-78
  • Commissioner to France, 1778
  • Minister to the Netherlands, 1780
  • Minister to England, 1785
  • Vice President, 1789-97 (under Washington)

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year

Vice President: Thomas Jefferson (1797-1801)


Secretary of State
Timothy Pickering (1797-1800)
John Marshall (1800-01)
Secretary of the Treasury
Oliver Wolcott, Jr. (1797-1801)
Samuel Dexter (1801)
Secretary of War
James McHenry (1797-1800)
Samuel Dexter (1800-01)
Attorney General
Charles Lee (1797-1801)
Secretary of the Navy
Benjamin Stoddert (1798-1801)
Notable Events:
  • 1797
    • Three anonymous French trouble makers brought France and the U.S. to the brink of war in what became known as the XYZ Affair.
  • 1798
    • Federalists support the highly unpopular Alien and Sedition Acts. They would later be repealed.
  • 1800
    • U.S. capital relocated to Washington, D.C. from Philadelphia.
    • Jefferson defeated Adams.
    • Congress established Library of Congress.
Internet Biographies:
John Adams -- from The Presidents of the United States of America
Compiled by the White House.
John Adams -- from The American President
From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
Biography of John Adams -- from From Revolution to Reconstruction
Biography written by Jim Liesenfelt for this American Revolution HTML project. Still under construction, but does contain some original material.
Other Internet Resources:
Adams National Historical Site
The birthplace of John Adams and other notable Americans. From the National Park Service.
John Adams Building
Inscriptions and quotations in the John Adams Building of the Library of Congress. Photographs of this building of the Library of Congress are included.
Points of Interest:
Additional Facts:
  • The Adams' were the first residents of the White House. They moved in in November 1800 while the paint was still wet. Mrs. Adams would hang her laundry in the East Room to dry.
  • Adams was one of three presidents not to attend the inauguration of his successor. Not only was Adams disappointed in losing to Jefferson, he was also grieving the death of his son Charles.
  • Adams was the great-great-grandson of John and Priscilla Alden, Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
  • The only presidents to sign the Declaration of Independence Adams and Jefferson both died on its 50th anniversary, July 4, 1826. Adams' dying words were "Thomas Jefferson survives". Jefferson, however, had passed on a few hours earlier.
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