Key Dates

1783: Adams helps negotiate the treaty to end the American Revolution.

1789: Adams becomes Washington's vice president and serves two terms.

1797: Adams wins a close election for President over Thomas Jefferson.

1799: President Adams sends troops to Pennsyvania to force farmers to pay a federal land tax.

1800: John Adams and his family move into the unfinished White House.

1826: John Adams dies.

John Adams
1797 -1801
Second President

He was one of three Presidents born in Massachusetts. John was born on October 30, 1735 in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts.

Adams' great, great grandfather and grandmother were part of the party that landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

Adam's was born before the US became a country. He was born in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1735.

He started smoking when he was only 8 years old.

John loved to read.

John went to Harvard and graduated in 1755.

John was one of the people who helped draft the Declaration of Independence.

President Adams was the first President to have a Supreme Court Justice administer the oath of office to him. The justice you swore him into office was Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth.

John Adams's Vice President was Thomas Jefferson.

Neither Adams or his apponent Charles Pinckney campaigned for the presidency. The party officials did all the campaigning.

John and Abigail Adams were the first presidential couple to move into the White House (1800). He was the first president to live in Washington D.C. The White House was only partly finished at the time. One source said the paint was still wet when they moved into the White House.

During the move to the White House, they got lost in the woods north of the city.

The Adam's had four children: Abigail "Nabby" Adams, John Quincey Adams, Charles Adams and Thomas Adams.

John walked all most every day for exercise. He sometimes would walk up to five miles.

John Adams' prayer "I pray to heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that hereafter inhabit it...May none but the honest and wise men ever rule under this roof." The prayer was later carved in the State Dining Room.

Benjamin Franklin once said about John Adams: "He means well for his country, is always an honest man, often a wise one, but sometimes and in some things absolutely out of his mind."

He had no military experience and there was not a war during his term.

He was a lawyer.

John was about 5'6" tall and was somewhat stocky.

Susanna Adams, John Adams' granddaughter, lived in the White House during the last 4 months of his term.

He served as Vice President to George Washington.

John Adams

John Adams. Copy of painting by or after John Singleton Copley, ca. 1783.
National Archives and Records Administration (Click for larger image.)

His son John Quincy Adams later became President. John Quincy was one of four children.

He defeated Thomas Jefferson in the election. He had 71 electoral votes to Jefferson's 68.

John Adams was a Federalist. His Vice President Thomas Jefferson was a Democratic Republican.

John Adams and his friend/enemy/friend, Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4th, 1826.

Most of Adam's teeth had fallen out. He refused to wear dentures, and thus, talked with a lisp.

He was defeated when he ran for a second term by his Vice President, Thomas Jefferson. He did not attend Jefferson's inauguration. He is one of only two Presidents who did not attend the inauguration of their successor. John Quincy Adams didn't attend Jackson's.

He died July 4, 1826, in Braintree, Norflok, Mass. Thomas Jefferson also died that day, a few hours before Adams. Two signers of the Declaration of Independence that became president died on the 50th anniversary of that great document.

He was over 90 years and 247 days old when he died. He was the longest living President until Reagan. After that Gerald Ford lived longer moving Adams to third longest living president.

Jefferson died on the same day. Both Presidents died on the same day on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence which they help write.


Quick Facts


Born: Braintree, MA, Oct. 30 1735 (Braintree is now Quincy, MA.)

Inaugurated: March 4, 1797

Party: Federalist

Died: Quincy, MA July 4, 1826, age 90



  • The Presidents of the United States. 22 September 2004
  • Davis, Gibbs and Ilus. David A. Johnson. Wackiest White House Pets. New York: Scholastic Press, October 2004
  • James, Barber and Amy Pastan. Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies. New York: DK Publishing, 2002
  • Harnsberger, Caroline Thomas. Treasury of Presidential Quotations. Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1964
  • Kane, Joseph Natan. Facts about the Presidents from Washington to Johnson. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1964.
  • National Park Service Web Site on Presidential Trivia:

Additional Sources:


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This page was last modified: February 4, 2012