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John Adams for Teachers & Students

Updated on December 28, 2015
President John Adams Image Credit to http://cariart.tripod.com/cartoon-3.html who requested no link back.
President John Adams Image Credit to http://cariart.tripod.com/cartoon-3.html who requested no link back.

Looking for great YouTube video clips, books, and free worksheets and lapbooks for teaching and/or learning about President John Adams? Here you will find my favorite picks we used while studying the individual Presidents of the United States. This is part of a series of lessons I posted on individual Presidents. You can find links to all the lessons at President's Day Unit Study .

Do You Think John Adams Was a Good President?

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President John Adams's portrait by Asher B. Durand
President John Adams's portrait by Asher B. Durand | Source

Just the Facts on Our 2nd President

Presidential Term: 1797-1801

Political Party: Federalist

Vice President: Thomas Jefferson

Birthplace: Massachusetts

Occupation: Lawyer

Yearly Salary as President: $25,000

Height: 5'7"

First Lady: Abigail Adams

Our Favorite Free Worksheets, Lapbooks, & Trivia on John Adams

We found these to be helpful when creating a notebook, lapbook, and cooking project on President John Adams.

John Adams Activities and John Adams Worksheets offer links to lots of free worksheets covering John Adams. Also included are book suggestions and general information.

John Adams Lapbook Pages offers free lapbook pages & activity ideas for The Revolutionary John Adams by Cheryl Harness.

John Adams Recipes provides a recipe for one of Adams' favorite desserts, Apple Pan Dowdy, and also includes a description of some of his other favorite dishes.

Presidents Lapbook Pages provides free lapbook pages for each of the Presidents of the United States including John Adams.

Trivia and Points of Interest includes an overview of John Adam's life and some fun points of interest.

Timeline of Major Events During John Adams's Presidency

1796
-E Pluribus Unum: "Out of Many, One" was added to all American coins

1797
-First US Naval Vessel XYZ Affair

1798
-Creation of Navy Department & U.S. Marines
-Alien and Sedition Acts passed
-Treaty made with Cherokees

1800
-U.S. capital moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.
-Jefferson defeated Adams in Presidential race
-Library of Congress was established

The first White House being built in Washington, D.C.
The first White House being built in Washington, D.C. | Source

The first President to live in the White House

John Adams was the first President to live in the White House. Washington DC was still mainly swampland and the roads were not even paved. When he moved in to the White House (then referred to as the "President's House"), only 6 rooms were finished. Abigail Adams is known for hanging her laundry to dry in the East Room, which is now where fancy state dinners and receptions are held.

XYZ Affair political cartoon
XYZ Affair political cartoon | Source

XYZ Affair: Trying to get America involved in the French Revolution

Between 1797-1798, France made attempts at going to war with America shortly after the French Revolution. This became known as the XYZ Affair. Adams kept America out of war with France. The XYZ Affair later let to the passing of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Alien & Sedition Acts Political Cartoon Image Credit: http://miller09adams.tumblr.com/
Alien & Sedition Acts Political Cartoon Image Credit: http://miller09adams.tumblr.com/

Alien & Sedition Acts Removed Rights of Citizens

In 1798 Adams passed the Alien & Sedition Acts, which made him greatly unpopular. They included laws that restricted freedom of speech, allowed the President to imprison whomever he wished, and more. They were later repealed.

Portrait John Marshall by Henry Inman
Portrait John Marshall by Henry Inman | Source

John Marshall, the Midnight Judge

Many consider his greatest act to be the appointment of John Marshall as 4th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. John Marshall was known as a "Midnight Judge" because he was appointed just before Thomas Jefferson took office.

John Adams, Who Fought for Our Country and Our Liberties

Signing of the Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull
Signing of the Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull | Source

John Adams will be forever remembered as a man who fought for our country and our liberties. In this painting that depicts the signing of the Declaration of Independence, he is the man standing up with his hand on his hip. He encouraged all Americans to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks, bonfires, and lit candles.

The graves of John Adams and his family at United First Parish Church
The graves of John Adams and his family at United First Parish Church | Source

John Adam's Death and Burial

On July 4, 1826, on the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams died at his home. His last words were, "Jefferson lives." Amazingly, Thomas Jefferson had died on the exact same day -- but a few hours earlier. John and Abigail Adams and John Quincy Adams and his wife are all buried in the crypt beneath United First Parish Church in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Our Favorite Family-Friendly Video Clips Giving an Overview of the Life and Presidency of John Adams

When searching out YouTube video clips that provided helpful information about John Adams and were completely child-friendly, these were our favorites.

Our Favorite Children's Books on John and Abigail Adams

My Favorite Picture Books on John Adams

Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud
Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud

This is a fun true story of how John Adams and Thomas Jefferson argued quite a bit, but both contributed greatly to the creation of our government. My children really enjoyed the humor in the book, and I loved how the story of both men was presented in such a memorable format. Another picture book, "Those Rebels, John and Tom" by Barbara Kerley also presents the same information (and is good), but we all preferred this author's version of the feud.

 
The Revolutionary John Adams
The Revolutionary John Adams

This is a longer picture book, so my preschoolers were not able to sit through the entire reading of the book. However, it contains excellent information and gorgeous illustrations and would be perfect for middle and upper elementary aged children! The author does a wonderful job of presenting John Adams as a real person and including fun tidbits that hold my children's interest (and educate us all at the same time). Even though my youngest children did not want to sit through the entire reading of the book, they still enjoyed flipping through it to see the captivating illustrations.

 

More of Our Favorite Picture Books on John Adams

John Adams: Second President 1797-1801 (Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents) by Mike Venezia gives a great overview of John Adam's life and includes fun illustrations that keep my children interested in the story. My 9 year old especially loves the subtle humor found in many of the drawings.

John Adams Speaks for Freedom (Ready-to-read SOFA) by Deborah Hopkinson provides a nice overview of John and Abigail Adams and their role in shaping our government. My children enjoyed the illustrations. This would also make a great phonics reader book if you have an emerging reader who is ready for level 3 reader books. (I love overlapping school subjects whenever possible as it helps my children really retain what they have learned.)

Dangerous Crossing: The Revolutionary Voyage of John Quincy Adams by Stephen Krensky tells of the voyage John Adams took with his son across the Atlantic Ocean during the American War for Independence to ask the French for help in the war. It includes a number of stories that are frequently left out of books written on him for children. It shows his honor, courage, and wisdom.

Those Rebels, John and Tom by Barbara Kerley does a wonderful job of comparing John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in their differing views but how they worked together as friends for the common cause of liberty for our nation. My children really enjoyed the cartoon-like illustrations!

John Adams and the Boston Massacre (Graphic Heroes of the American Revolution) by Gary Jeffrey is written in a comic book format, which my children love. This focuses primarily on John Adam's honorable role as lawyer during the Boston Massacre. It does a good job of portraying his character and skills that would later be used when he became President.

A Picture Book of John and Abigail Adams (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler is a fairly straightforward picture book that gives a good overview of the entire life of John Adams and includes how Abigail Adams contributed significantly. The watercolor illustrations are a bit more life-like, which did not help keep the attention of my younger children.

John Adams, Brave Patriot by Laurence Santrey is a longer picture book good for ages 7 and up. It has black, white, and gray illustrations on every page and includes a number of interesting stories that are not told in many other children's picture books.

How To Draw The Life And Times Of John Adams (Kid's Guide to Drawing the Presidents of the United States of America) by Ryan P. Randolph is wonderful because it combines the history of John Adams with art lessons. Each page spread includes a picture of something related to John Adams's life, a few paragraphs about why it was important and/or what occurred, and then simple step-by-step drawing lessons so your child can draw that ship, house, etc. Even my kindergarten aged child was able to make decent drawings using these steps, and my child who is 3rd grade level made particularly nice drawings. It is something fun to add to a notebook on the Presidents!

Our Favorite Chapter Book on John Adams

John Adams: Young Revolutionary (Childhood of Famous Americans)
John Adams: Young Revolutionary (Childhood of Famous Americans)

This is perfect for an elementary aged child to read by themselves or for a teacher/family read-aloud book if you have early elementary aged children. It describes what John Adam's life as a child might have been like and how events in his life shaped him into the man he became. It includes black and white illustrations every few pages.

 

Another Good Chapter Book Option (Ideal for Older Children)

John Adams: Independence Forever (Heroes of History) by Janet Benge is be best for advanced upper elementary readers and middle and high school aged children. It presents John Adams with great respect and includes the character traits that we should emulate from his life. It includes that he was a Christian and how that affected the way he lived his life.

Our Favorite Picture Book on Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams was an integral part of John Adams's life. She grew up teaching herself through her father's library and then married John. She and John kept in frequent communication with one another and her husband frequently used her to think through ideas. She was one of our country's first major supporters of women's rights as well. We read a few children's biographies on her life, and this was our favorite.

 

More Good Picture Book and Chapter Book Options for Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams: First Lady of the American Revolution (Ready-to-read SOFA) by Patricia Lakin is a well written picture book biography with nice illustrations. We also used this as a phonics reader. This was our second favorite picture book biography on Abigail Adams.

Abigail Adams: Girl of Colonial Days (Childhood of Famous Americans) by Jean Brown Wagoner is an excellent chapter book, ideal for early and middle elementary aged children (2nd - 5th grade). It describes Abigail Adams's life growing up in Colonial America and includes stories that reveal her character. It includes black and white illustrations every few pages. It is 192 pages long but much space is taken up by illustrations and the words are written in larger font.

Time For Kids: Abigail Adams: Eyewitness to America's Birth (Time for Kids Biographies) by Editors of TIME For Kids contains both illustrations and photographs. It includes the basic information one would expect to find in a children's biography (i.e. more facts than fun stories). It was still enjoyable to read and would also make a good easy reader book if your are looking for a phonics reader.

Looking for more lessons on Presidents or all of my unit studies and lessons?

  • President's Day Unit Study - I posted links to each of my lessons on individual Presidents here. In each lesson I included fun worksheets, children's books, YouTube clips, timelines, and recipe ideas. On this page I also included our favorite books and YouTube video clips that cover all of the Presidents of the United States.
  • Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Looking for all of my lessons and unit studies? Over the years I have posted over 35 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 170 lessons. For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons on this page.

Where is John Adams buried?

A markerUnited First Parish Church in Quincy, Massachusetts -
United First Parish Church, 1306 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA 02169, USA
get directions

© 2012 iijuan12

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