John Adams began his legal career in 1758. After several years of struggling, Adams was a highly successful lawyer by 1770. He was so successful that he was the lawyer chosen to defend the British soldiers who were charged in the Boston Massacre in March 1770. None of the accused soldiers went to jail. His success, along with his young, growing family, made him hesitant to play a prominent role in the popular movement against parliamentary policies. He also distrusted many of the radical leaders, like his own cousin Samual Adams. Eventually Britain's continued efforts to tax the colonies and strip them of autonomy persuaded John Adams that the radicals were correct.
During the American Revolution, he served in France and Holland in diplomatic roles, helping to negotiate a peace treaty. This, along with his service as Vice President, led him to win the presidential election against Thomas Jefferson by three electoral votes. On March 4, 1797, John Adams took the oath of office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the first president to receive the oath of office from a Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The speech from that inauguration can be found here. His annual salary was $25,000 a year. He would serve one term as president from 1797 to 1801. On March 3, 1801, John Adams' tenure as president would end. On July 4, 1826, he died at 90 years of age in Braintree, Massachusettes.
John Adams' Administration
First Lady: Abigail Adams, married October 25, 1735
Vice President: Thomas Jefferson
Secretaries of State:
John Marshall (1800–1801)
Secretaries of War:
Samuel Dexter (1801)
Secretaries of the Treasury:
Samuel Dexter (1801)
Secretary of the Navy:
For more information on President John Adams, check out these resources...
John Adams, White House
American President: John Adams, Miller Center, University of Virginia
John Adams, POTUS, Internet Public Library
John and Abigail Adams, American Experience
Head of Federal Documents and Microforms
Reference & Instruction Librarian
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