John Adams: The Greatest Mind in Politics
John Adams is generally not considered to be one of the Founding Fathers. In spite of this, his legacy might even be more important than that of George Washington, who greatly overshadowed Adams. The way he felt toward his position as Washington?s vice president helped to form his political beliefs. His ideas about the way the American government system should go greatly influenced our current government system. While, Adams hated his terms as Vice President and President and he made some questionable decisions during his presidency, he is considered one of the greatest minds in American politics.
In October of 1735, the boy who would grow up to become the second president of the United States, was born. John Adams was born in a Puritan household to John and Susanna Adams (Matuz and Baker, 56). Through out his childhood, Adams disliked school, however he studied classical languages and the arts of logic and rhetoric. At the age of fifteen, he entered Harvard College (a more prestigious school of Harvard University), with the intention of becoming a minister. He began to doubt his plan, and after graduating third in his class in 1755, he taught grammar school while working on his plan for the future (Matuz and Baker, 57). One year later, in 1756, Adams decided to become a lawyer. After studying under a lawyer for two years, he became a member of the Massachusetts State Bar (Pious 10). He established his practice and began courting Abigail Smith. They were married in 1764 (Matuz and Baker, 57). Over the next ten years, his law and political careers took off, and so did his family life. He and his wife had 5 children: Abigail Amelia, John Quincy, Susanna, Charles, and Thomas Boylston.
As tension between England and her colonies grew, the growth of American politics did as well. Adams was very involved with colonial politics and because of this, he was elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature. Soon after, he was elected as a delegate to go to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The Revolutionary War began one year later in 1775. The Second Continental Congress met during the war in 1776. It was there Adams realized that in order for America to function free of England\'s guidance and rule, it needed a central government. Adams wrote an essay called Thoughts On Government, which detailed his idea of a three branch government: an executive branch, a judicial branch, and a legislative branch (Matuz and Baker, 59). The war still raged throughout the country and the Continental Congress established a Continental Army from state militias and George Washington was named Commander in Chief. When the Declaration of Independence was ratified in 1776, Adams returned to Braintree, Massachusetts. In 1777, Adams went to France to negotiate an alliance. In 1779, he signed the Treaty of Paris, effectively ending the War. Adams stayed in France, and was given the title of Minister to France. While in Europe, he formed a friendship with another American political leader, Thomas Jefferson.
In 1789, George Washington became the first president of the United States. Adams, having lost to Washington, became his vice president (Pious 10). Alexander Hamilton, who became the Secretary of the Treasury, did not like Adams and voted against him. This began a long and strong dislike on the parts of both men. Hamilton became the leader of the Federalists, who wanted a strong central government. The Anti-Federalists (Democratic-Republican) were lead by Thomas Jefferson.Viewed as Washington\'s successor, Adams did not believe in the political platform of either party of the time. In the election of 1796, the parties both had two candidates. The federalist party had John Adams and a man named Thomas Pinckney. The Democratic-Republican party had Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. During this election, Hamilton, tried to sabotage Adams? running for president by convincing electors to vote for Pinckney. His plan backfired and Adams won the second presidential election.Adams beat Jefferson by three votes and was inaugurated on March 4, 1797 at Congress Hall in Philadelphia. (Matuz and Baker, 61-62). Jefferson came in second and became Adams vice president, while Pinckney came in third. This caused an issue because the president and the vice president were from two different parties.
One of the biggest problems that the Adams administration faced was the fact that Adams kept Washington?s Cabinet, which was filled with men