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John Adams

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John Adams was born on October 30, 1735 in Braintree, Massachusetts. Adams entered Harvard College at the age of 16 and after graduation, became a teacher in nearby Worcester. He disliked his job and decided to go into law. In 1758, he was admitted to the Suffolk County Bar. In response to rising tension, Britain dispatched troops to the Boston area. In 1770, a group of British troops killed several Americans in the Boston Massacre. Adams stepped in and successfully defended the troops involved in a controversial murder trial.

Adams was elected to serve in the First Continental Congress. He was soon elected to return to the Second Continental Congress, where Adams nominated George Washington to command the Continental Army. Adams was then elected to serve as ambassador to France. In Paris, he met Benjamin Franklin and attempted to draw up an alliance with France. However, Franklin had already completed the work by the time he arrived. Adams spent a year in Paris until Congress named Benjamin Franklin the sole ambassador. He then returned to America and drafted the Massachusetts Constitution a week after he arrived.

Adams returned to Paris to negotiate the Treaty of Paris after John Jay requested he answer British emissary Richard Oswald's request for a meeting. He was then sent to Britain, as America's first ambassador. He soon returned to the United States and was elected vice president in March of 1789. He served two unappreciated terms and was widely mislabeled as incompetent and a supporter of monarchy. Adams was elected president in the election of 1796 with the country on the brink of war with France, which was angered by Jay's Treaty. French officials attempted to bribe Adams after a botched attempt at peace. The bribe was leaked to the public and became known as the XYZ Affair. The Affair enraged the Americans, but Adams kept the country from war with a last minute peace mission.

In July 1798, Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts. They were meant to impede the increasing resistance to the Federalists, Adams's party, but they were so unpopular and unconstitutional that they became the downfall of the Federalists. Adams faced a bitter reelection, due partially to resistance from Alexander Hamilton. The two men had fought for most of Adams's presidency. Adams retreated to Braintree, Massachusetts, his hometown. There, he stayed out of politics and public matters for many years, reconciling with Jefferson through their correspondence. The good friends both died on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the writing of the Declaration of Independence.

The author, David McCullough, portrays Adams as a key figure of the Revolution and founding of the United States. He also feels that Adams is extremely underappreciated as a founding father. Adams did play a large role in many aspects of the American Revolution. He wrote the Constitution of Massachusetts and other important documents among the early days of the Revolution, including assisting Jefferson with the Declaration of



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