Biography of John Adams
Famous American Biographies

JOHN ADAMS, the second president of the United States, and one of the most conspicuous figures in the early struggles of his country for independence, was born in the present town of Quincy, then a portion of Braintree, Massachusetts, October 30, 1735, He received a thorough education, graduating at Harvard College in 1755, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1758. He was well adapted for this profession and after opening an office in his native town rapidly grew in prominence and public favor and soon was regarded as one of the leading lawyers of the country. His attention was called to political affairs by the passage of the Stamp Act, in 1765, and he drew up a set of resolutions on the subject which were very popular. In 1768 he removed to Boston and became one of the most courageous and prominent advocates of the popular cause and was chosen a member of the Colonial legislature from Boston. He was one of the delegates that represented Massachusetts in the first Con tinental congress, which met in September, 1774. In a letter written at this crisis he uttered the famous words: 'The die is now cast; I have passed the Rubicon. Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish with my country, is my unalterable determination." He was a prominent figure in congress and advocated the movement for independence when a majority of the members were inclined to temporize and to petition the King. In May, 1776, he presented a resolution in congress that the colonies should assume the duty of self government, which was passed. In June, of the same year, a resolution that the United States are, and of right ought to be, free and independent," was moved by Richard H. Lee, seconded by Mr. Adams and adopted by a small majority. Mr. Adams was a member of the committee of five appointed June 11 to prepare a declaration of independence, in support of which he made an eloquent speech. He was chairman of the Board of War in 1776 and in 1778 was sent as commissioner to France, but returned the following year. In 1780 he went to Europe, having been appointed as minister to negotiate a treaty of peace and commerce with Great Britain. Conjointly with Franklin and Jay he negotiated a treaty in 1782. He was employed as a minister to the Court of St. James from 1785 to 1788, and during that period wrote his famous "Defence of the American Constitutions." In 1789 he became vice-president of the United States and was re-elected in 1792.

In 1796 Mr. Adams was chosen president of the United States, his competitor being Thomas Jefferson, who became vicepresident. In 1800 he Was the Federal candidate for president, but he was not cordially supported by Gen. Hamilton. the favorite leader of his party, and was de feated by Thomas Jefferson.

Mr. Adams then retired from public life to his large estate at Quincy, Mass., where he died July 4, 1826, on the same day that witnessed the death of Thomas Jefferson. Though his physical frame began to give way many years' before his death, his mental powers retained their strength and vigor to the last. In his ninetieth year he was gladdened by the elevation of his son, John Quincy Adams, to the presidential office.

A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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