John Adams Fast Facts

Second President of the United States

John Adams, Second President of the United States
Portrait of John Adams, Second President of the United States. Oil by Charles Wilson Peale, 1791. Independence National Historical Park

John Adams (1735-1826) was one of America's founding fathers. He is often seen as the 'forgotten' president. He had been quite influential at the First and Second Continental Congresses. He nominated George Washington to be the first President. He also helped write the treaty that officially ended the American Revolution. However, he only served one year as president. The passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts harmed his reelection and legacy. 

Following is a list of fast facts for John Adams. You can also read the:


October 30, 1735


July 4, 1826

Term of Office:

March 4, 1797-March 3, 1801

Number of Terms Elected:

1 Term

First Lady:

Abigail Smith

John Adams Quote: 

"Let me have my farm, family and goose quill, and all the honors and offices this world has to bestow may go to those who deserve them better and desire them more. I court them not."

Additional Adams Quotes

Major Events While in Office:

John Adams Quotes:

"The people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous, and cruel, as any king or senate possessed of uncontrollable power. The majority has eternally, and without one exception, usurped over the rights of the minority."

"If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information and benevolence...."

"The history of our Revolution will be one continued lie from one end to the other. The essence of the whole will be that Dr. Franklin's electrical rod smote the earth and out sprang General Washington. That Franklin electrified him with his rod - and thenceforward these two conducted all the policies, negotiations, legislatures, and war."

"The balance of power in a society accompanies the balance of property in land."

"My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived." (Upon being elected as the first Vice President)

"I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof." (Upon moving into the White House)

"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy."

"Did you ever see a portrait of a great man without perceiving strong traits of pain and anxiety?"

"Every man in [Congress] is a great man, an orator, a critic, a statesman; and therefore every man upon every question must show his oratory, his criticism, and his political abilities."

"Modesty is a virtue that can never thrive in public."

Related John Adams Resources:

These additional resources on John Adams can provide you with further information about the president and his times.

The Boston Massacre
John Adams was an attorney for the defense during the aftermath of the Boston Massacre. But who was to blame for the Massacre? Was it truly an act of tyranny or just an unfortunate event of history? Read the conflicting testimonies here.

Revolutionary War
The debate over the Revolutionary War as a true 'revolution' will not be resolved. However, without this struggle America might still be part of the British Empire. Find out about the people, places and events that shaped the revolution.

Treaty of Paris
The Treaty of Paris officially ended the American Revolution. John Adams was one of the three Americans sent to negotiate the treaty. This provides the complete text of this historic treaty.

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Kelly, Martin. "John Adams Fast Facts." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Kelly, Martin. (2020, August 25). John Adams Fast Facts. Retrieved from Kelly, Martin. "John Adams Fast Facts." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 25, 2021).

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