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John Adams (October 30 [O.S. October 19] 1735 – July 4, 1826) was the second President of the United States (1797–1801), after serving as the first Vice President (1789–1797). He was an American lawyer, author, statesman and diplomat, and as a Founding Father was a principal leader of American independence from Great Britain. Adams was a well educated political theorist in the Age of Enlightenment who promoted republicanism and a strong central government.


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Adams was an exceptional diarist and correspondent - especially with his wife Abigail – who was a key advisor as well. He as well often publicly articulated his seminal ideas. After the Boston Massacre, despite severe local anti-British sentiment, he provided a controversial, but principled and successful, legal defense of the accused British soldiers, driven by his devotion to the unqualified right to counsel and the "protect[ion] of innocence."

n 1800, after a hard fought campaign for re-election, Adams was defeated by Thomas Jefferson and retired to Massachusetts; he later resumed his friendship with Jefferson through a notable correspondence spanning fourteen years. He and his wife spawned a family of accomplished politicians, diplomats, and historians now referred to as the Adams political family; primarily, Adams was the father of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. The elder Adams was the first U.S. president to reside in the executive mansion, named in 1811 the White House. He died on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Modern historians in the aggregate have ranked his administration as the twelfth most successful.


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