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Interesting Facts About John Adams

Adams was the first lawyer-president. He was the only president of the first five U.S. presidents not to be a slaveholder. When John Adams became president the United States had a population of 4,900,000. He defended British soldiers that killed five Americans in the Boston Massacre. The soldiers were considered innocent. During the Continental Congresses he served on more committees than any other congressman 90 in all, he chaired twenty. A letter Adams wrote to a friend expressing his discontent with the Olive Branch Petition was intersected before it reached England. King George III refused to read the petition claiming that it was insincere. He cast the tie-breaking vote at least thirty one times during his eight years as Vice President and leader of the Senate, a record that has not been matched. He was the first president to live in the White House, he moved in before it was finished. Adams was not a popular president, his independent mind led to political isolation, unwilling to compromise he faced opposition from his own cabinet. He did not attend Jefferson's inauguration. He was one of only three presidents not to attend his successor's inauguration. His son John Quincy became the 6th President. There have been two father-son Presidents in American history: John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and George Bush and George W Bush. Adams died on the same day as his rival Thomas Jefferson on July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Lets look at a few of these interesting facts.

John Adams, Attorney

On November 6, 1758 John Adams and his friend Samuel Quincy rode into Boston to appear before the court to be sworn in as lawyers. Jeremiah Gridley recommended Adams to the bar of the Suffolk Interior Court.

As a young lawyer with a thriving practice John was ready to settle down. In 1762 he proposed to Abigail Smith, but because of her young age of 17, they agreed upon a two year engagement before the weding. On October 25th, 1764 they finally married, John was twenty eight and Abigail nineteen.

At the end of March 1770, just three weeks after the Boston Massacre, a grand jury had indicted Captain Preston and his men as well as four civilians accused of firing thier guns from the window of the Customs House. The soldiers of the 29th regiment accused of murder were William Wemms, James Hartigan, William McCauley, Hugh White, Matthew Kilroy, William Warren, John Carrol and Hugh Montgomery. If found guilty they could face the death penalty. Preston and his soldiers could not find a legal representative counsel, until 35-year old John Adams agreed to head their defense.

All but 2 soldiers were found not guilty, Hugh Montgomery and Matthew Killroy, were found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, therefore escaping the death penalty. Both men invoked the "benefit of the clergy" allowing them to avoid a long imprisonment. They had their thumbs branded with the letter "M", leaving a permanent mark so that they would not receive a lenient treatment in the future.

John Adams & the Olive Branch Petition

In November news arrived that King George III had rejected the Olive Branch Petition and declared the colonies in a state of rebellion. Britain issued the American Prohibition Act which intended to stop American trade and announced that 25,000 additional troops would be sent to suppress colonial traitors. This event fast forwarded the committee to create the American Navy. As a member of the Navy Committee, Adams drafted the policies for regulating it , they were immediately passed by congress and adopted by the newly created Navy fleet.

The rejection of the Olive Branch Petition and the American Prohibition Act were seen as a declaration of war by Congress and by the spring of 1776 the majority of Congress approved the idea of separation from Britain except for New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

The idea of independence was disseminated to the general public by a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, Common Sense. Paine denounced the British government and insisted that independence was crucial for their own liberty and that the American Revolution was indeed imperative for the survival of freedom. Paine asserted that Britain wanted conquest and not reconciliation. His idea of revolution and independence spread fast, his pamphlet sold 150,000 copies.

Presidential History | Biography