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Top 10 Things To Know About John Adams

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1. Defended British Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trial

In 1770, Adams defended British soldiers accused of killing five colonists on Boston Green in what became known as the Boston Massacre. Even though he disagreed with British policies, he wanted to ensure the British soldiers got a fair trial.

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2. John Adams Nominated George Washington

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Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division LC-USZ62-7585 DLC

John Adams realized the importance of unifying the North and South in the Revolutionary War. He selected George Washington as a leader both would support.

3. Part of Committee to Draft the Declaration of Independence

John Adams was an important figure in both the First and Second Continental Congresses in 1774 and 1775. He had been a staunch opponent of British policies before the American Revolution arguing against the Stamp Act and other actions. During the Second Continental Congress, he was chosen to be part of the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence, although he deferred to Thomas Jefferson to write the first draft.

4. Wife Abigail Adams

John Adams wife, Abigail Adams, was an important figure throughout the foundation of the American republic. She was a devoted correspondent with her husband and also in later years with Thomas Jefferson. She was very learned as can be judged by her letters. Her impact of this first lady on her husband and the politics of the time should not be underestimated.

5. Diplomat to France

Adams was sent to France in 1778 and later in 1782. During the second trip he helped create the Treaty of Paris with Benjamin Franklin and John Jay which ended the American Revolution.

6. Elected President in 1796 with Opponent Thomas Jefferson as Vice President

According to the Constitution, candidates for President and Vice President did not run by party but instead individually. Whoever received the most votes became president and whoever got the second most was elected vice president. Even though Thomas Pinckney was meant to be John Adams' Vice President, in the election of 1796 Thomas Jefferson came in second by only three votes to Adams. They served together for four years, the only time in America's history that political opponents served in the top two executive positions.

7. XYZ Affair

While Adams was president, the French were regularly harassing American ships at sea. Adams attempted to stop this by sending ministers to France. However, they were turned aside. The French then sent a note asking for a bribe of $250000 in order to meet with them.



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