Prior to serving as the colonies chief agitator, Adams actually worked for the British, defending the soldiers who were involved in the Boston Massacre.
Adams has the distinction of being the nation's first vice president and also being the first man to despise the office. Washington did not ask Adams for input on the affairs of state. When he finally became president, international tensions between France and the United States, leading Adams to send three commissioners to France. The three were turned away from the French officials for they would not pay a substantial bribe. The "XYZ Affair," as it became known, helped Adams' Federalist Party solidify their power in America.
However, Adams tried to then negotiate with France, which cost him the election of 1800, losing to Thomas Jefferson by only a few electoral votes. Adams had suffered the wrath of Alexander Hamilton, who engineered Jefferson's victory. Adams left Washington and did not attend Jefferson's inauguration. The two rivals reconciled in 1812 and began a correspondence that lasted until their deaths on the same day, July 4, 1826. Adams also had the opportunity to see his son, John Quincy, elected to the presidency, when J.Q. took office in 1825.
One of the better presidential quotes comes from the gentleman from Massachusetts, written in a letter to his beloved Abigail shortly after moving into the Executive Mansion:
"Before I end my letter, I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof."Oh, John. Though it were so, though it were so.
- born October 30, 1735, Braintree, Massachusetts
- died July 4, 1826, Braintree, Massachusetts (age 90)
- As President of the Senate (while serving as Vice President), Adams holds the record of casting the most tie breaking votes with 31. John C. Calhoun is second with 28.
- The USS Constitution was built during his administration.
- That Jefferson and Adams both died on the same day, which also marked the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence is considered one of the greatest coincidences in history. Adams' reported last words were, "Jefferson survives" although he had died a few hours earlier.
- Adams is the first president to live in the Executive Mansion, now known as the White House.