Birthplace: Braintree, Mass.
born on Oct. 30 (Oct. 19, old style), 1735, at Braintree (now Quincy),
Mass. A Harvard graduate, he considered teaching and the ministry but
finally turned to law and was admitted to the bar in 1758. Six years
later, he married Abigail Smith. He opposed the Stamp Act, served as
lawyer for patriots indicted by the British, and by the time of the
Continental Congresses, was in the vanguard of the movement for
independence. In 1778, he went to France as commissioner. Subsequently
he helped negotiate the peace treaty with Britain, and in 1785 became
envoy to London. Resigning in 1788, he was elected vice president under
Washington and was reelected in 1792.
Though a Federalist, Adams
did not get along with Hamilton, who sought to prevent his election to
the presidency in 1796 and thereafter intrigued against his
administration. In 1798, Adams"s independent policy averted a war with
France but completed the break with Hamilton and the right-wing
Federalists; at the same time, the enactment of the Alien and Sedition
Acts, directed against foreigners and against critics of the
government, exasperated the Jeffersonian opposition. The split between
Adams and Hamilton resulted in Jefferson"s becoming the next president.
Adams retired to his home in Quincy. He and Jefferson died on the same
day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the
Declaration of Independence.
His Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States (1787) contains original and striking, if conservative, political ideas.Died: 7/4/1826