Here are all the notes I took when I was preparing to teach parents and children about one of our nation's Founding Fathers, John Adams:
1. Born October 30, 1735 in Braintree, Massachusetts, one of only 4 Presidents to be born in Massachusetts.
The city where he was born was later named after his son, John Quincy Adams
2. He held many jobs in his youth. He wanted to be a farmer, but later became a lawyer
3. He hated slavery, and wanted to see it abolished over time.
4. He was a nice man to his friends and family. People who met him for the first time though that he was arrogant and aloof. The truth is he just had a hard time meeting new people
5. He was outspoken about right and wrong.
6. He would get angry really easily, and he knew that he was vain—but he tried hard to change that.
7. He married the love of his life, Abigail Adams. She reminded her husband John not to forget about the rights of women in the United States. Their marriage was a life-long romance.
8. Adams defend the British soldiers accused of murdering 5 American colonists in The Boston Massacre. He successfully fought for their freedom. He firmly believed in everyone’s right to legal counsel and the protection of innocence for all.
9. He helped write the Declaration of Independence, one of his nicknames was “The Atlas of Independence”.
10. He helped even his most bitter rivals when they needed it—for example, dousing the fire engulfing the home of his worst critics.
11. He was there to negotiate the final Treaty of Paris in 1783, which ended the American Revolutionary War for the Americans to be a free nation.
12. Throughout the Revolutionary war and afterwards, he was minister to France, England, and the Netherlands
13. He was the nation’s first Vice-President, serving under George Washington
14. He was the second President of the United States, the only President who ran as a member of the Federalist Party
15. He appointed John Marshall, the first United States Supreme Court of real note.
16. He created the first military band.
17. He founded the American navy.
18. He started the first military hospital for our veterans.
19. Two of the biggest issues that happened during his Presidency:
a. XYZ Affair—the French Government tried to get bribes in order to end attacks on American ships. Adams later negotiated peace with France.
b. The Alien and Sedition Acts: lengthened the time for immigrants to become citizens. Allowed for prosecution and arrest for saying bad thing about the government. That law was Adam’s biggest mistake
20. His son later served as President, who was an outspoken opponent of slavery. One of only two Presidents who would see his son serve as President, too.
21. In retirement, he reopened his law practice.
22. Despite many tragedies in his life, including the deaths of his wife, daughter, and grandson—he remained sharp in mind and heart and cared about the fate of his country.
23. John Adams died on July 4th, 1826 (50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence), one of the longest-lived President. His one-time friend then rival and later President Thomas Jefferson died the same day, but only a few hours earlier!
24. John Adams last words? “Thomas Jefferson survives.”