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Interesting and Little-Known Facts About John Adams

Updated on July 22, 2012

Personal Facts About John Adams


October 30, 1735 (Braintree [now Quincy], Massachusetts)


July 4, 1826

(Adams died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. He was one of the last three signers still alive. At the age of 91, John Adams collapsed in his favorite reading chair and died, probably of heart failure, that afternoon. His last words were, "Thomas Jefferson still lives." He didn’t know that Jefferson had died just hours earlier, leaving only one signer of the Declaration of Independence still alive.)

Political Party


Vice President(s)

Thomas Jefferson

Physical Characteristics

5 feet 7 inches tall, 190 pounds

Family Members

WIFE – Abigail Smith

SON – John Quincy

SON – Charles

SON – Thomas

DAUGHTER – Abigail "Nabby"

John Adams


John Adams Quotes

Fear is the foundation of most governments.

Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.

All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.

John Adams - Declaration of Independence

Abigail Adams Quotes

Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.

If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.

Interesting Facts About John Adams


  • Graduated from Harvard at age 20 (Lawyer)

Favorite Foods

  • Codfish cakes
  • Baptist cakes
  • Cream of corn soup
  • Green turtle soup,
  • Clam chowder
  • Old-fashioned Welsh apple butter

Fun Facts

  • Nominated George Washington to lead the Continental Army in the American Revolution
  • Chosen to be part of the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence but deferred to Thomas Jefferson to write the first draft
  • Suffered from respiratory infection and depression
  • Spoke with a lisp because most of his teeth had fallen out, and he refused to wear dentures
  • Is one of only three presidents not to attend his successor’s inauguration (Thomas Jefferson defeated Adams in a difficult election. Adams did not attend Jefferson’s inauguration, claiming he was grieving the death of his son.)
  • Disliked Benjamin Franklin because of his moral indecencies (Adams said, “That I have no friendship for Franklin I avow. That I am incapable of having any with a man of his moral sentiments I avow.”)
  • Had a warm friendship with one of his greatest political opponents, Thomas Jefferson (This friendship was greatly strained after Adams appointed numerous judges in the final hours of his presidency. Jefferson and Adams didn’t correspond with each other throughout Jefferson’s tenure as president. After Jefferson’s term was finished, the two resumed their friendship.)

Legacy (Best Known for the Following)

  • Successfully defended British soldiers accused of murdering American colonists at the Boston Massacre, despite blatant objections from his cousin, Sam Adams
  • Signed Declaration of Independence
  • Participated in both the First and Second Continental Congresses in 1774 and 1775
  • Sent to France in 1778 and later in 1782/1783 (During the second trip, he, along with Benjamin Franklin and John Jay helped create the Treaty of Paris which ended the American Revolution.)

Military Experience

  • None

Presidential Firsts

  • First vice president
  • First to live in the White House
  • First president whose son would later become president

Presidential Politics

  • Preserved peace with France duriong the XYZ Affair (France was at war with Great Britain and issued an order allowing for the seizure of American merchant ships in 1796. Adams sent John Marshall, Elbridge Gerry, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney to France to negotiate and calm war sentiment in the United States. France refused to meet and instead demanded a low-interest war loan, a bribe, of $250,000 in return for the meeting. Adams asked Congress to prepare for war with France. The affair further fanned Federalist passions for war who rallied around the slogan, "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." While an undeclared naval war, known as the Quasi-War occurred from 1798 to 1800, differences between the two countries were settled in 1800.)
  • Passed the Alien and Sedition Acts:
  • Naturalization Act – Required fourteen years, instead of five years, for citizenship
  • Alien Act – Allowed the president to deport “dangerous” aliens at will
  • Alien Enemy Act – Allowed the president to expel or imprison enemy aliens during times of declared war
  • Sedition Act – Allowed high misdemeanor charges to be brought against people who spoke “false, scandalous and malicious” comments against the government. Allowed high misdemeanor charges to be brought agaist people involved in riots against the government or people who interfered with any officer’s ability to discharge his duties.
  • Appointed numerous “midnight” judges in the last few hours of his presidency (This was an unpopular move that angered many people, including his successor, Thomas Jefferson.)

Return to Interesting and Little-Known Facts About the American Presidents.

John Adams Comments

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    • arizonataylor profile image

      arizonataylor 5 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you. How can you beat Adams, Madison, Jefferson, and Washington?

    • Farmer Rachel profile image

      Rachel Koski 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      I love John Adams. I'm actually such a dork that I have the HBO movie playing in the background right now... nice hub!