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John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was the second president of the United States. He is considered one of the founding fathers of the country.
Adams came to prominence in the early stages of the American Revolution. As a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress, he played an important role in persuading Congress to declare independence, and assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence of the United States in 1776. As a representative of the Congress in Europe, he was one of the main negotiators of the Treaty of Paris (1783) with Great Britain, and one of the main responsible for obtaining important bankers’ loans from Amsterdam. Political theorist and historian, Adams wrote to a large extent the constitution of the state of Massachusetts in 1780, but was in Europe when the federal Constitution was drafted on similar principles. One of his great roles was in the selection of people for various positions: in 1775, he appointed George Washington as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, and, twenty-five years later, appointed John Marshall as President of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Adams’ revolutionary credentials secured him two terms as vice president of George Washington and his own election in 1796 as the second president of the nation. During his presidential term, he encountered fierce attacks by the Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson, as well as the dominant faction of his own party, the Federalist Party led by his staunch enemy Alexander Hamilton. Adams signed the controversial Acts of sedition and foreigners, and built the army and navy especially in the context of the undeclared naval war (called “Quasi War”) with France, 1798-1800. The great achievement of his presidency was the peaceful solution of the Quasi-War against the bellicose opposition of Hamilton.
In 1800 Adams was defeated in re-election by Thomas Jefferson and retired to Massachusetts. Later he resumed his friendship with Jefferson. He and his wife, Abigail Adams, founded a family line of politicians, diplomats and historians in the United States. He was the father of John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States. On July 4, 1826, he died at the age of 90, the same day of the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. That same day, hours before, Thomas Jefferson had died. Paradoxically, the last words of John Adams were: “Thomas Jefferson is alive”.
His achievements have received greater recognition in modern times, although his contributions were not initially as celebrated as those of the other Founding Fathers.
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