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John Adams
10/1735-7/1826 (Age at death: 90)

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. He 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".

Adams was influenced by his older cousin and revolutionary leader Samuel Adams, but established his own prominence in the early stages of the American Revolution. He became a public figure in Boston, and as a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, Adams played a leading role in persuading Congress to declare independence. He assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and was its foremost advocate in the Congress. He disliked slavery but did not oppose it publicly; he was averse to the divisive effect of a conspicuous discussion about emancipation. As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain, and was responsible for obtaining vital governmental loans from Amsterdam bankers. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780 which influenced American political theory, as did his earlier Thoughts on Government. He was an excellent judge of character - in 1775, he nominated George Washington to be commander-in-chief, and 25 years later nominated John Marshall to be Chief Justice of the United States.

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3 Quotation(s) Total:

     Page 1 of 1

Democracy... while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.



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John Adams

Article VII. Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require it.
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John Adams

There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation.
One is by the sword. The other is by debt
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John Adams

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