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Who Is John Adams

John Adams

John Adams, one of the most prominent and influential Founding Fathers in American history, played a critical role in the development of the newly found United States. Adams, who served as both Vice President and President of the United States, was considered a revolutionary political philosopher and innovative sociological thinker.

John Adams first came to prominence during the early years of the American Revolution as a delegate from Massachusetts. During meetings of the Continental Congress, Adams persuaded other Founding Fathers into drafting the Declaration of Independence, which would solidify America's standing as a free sovereign nation.


John Adams’ role in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence was spawned through repeated attempts by Parliament's unjust taxation methods on American colonialists. In 1765, the British Parliament enforced the Stamp Act without consulting American legislatures. The Act effectively required all colonial publications to be produced on specific paper produced in London and also enforced a hefty tax on mandatory British stamps. The Parliament instituted such an Act to raise money for their army which they viewed as a necessary resource for the American colonies.

In response to this unjust taxation, Adams, as well as other prominent leaders, vehemently protested by publishing articles outlining the tyrannous actions of Parliament. The main argument offered by Adams revolved around British attempts to deny American colonists the two basic rights previously guaranteed to all settlers. The "Braintree Instructions", the publication written by John Adams, outlined that the rights to be taxed only by consent and to be tried only by a jury of one's peers were directly violated through the Stamp Act of 1765.

The unrighteous actions and violation of civil rights by the Parliament propelled John Adams into a prominent leadership role within the United States Continental Congress. As disfavor grew, Adams swore to focus his energies on separation from the British government. In 1775, Adams appointed George Washington as the commander-in-chief of the United States army. Over the subsequent decade, as battles waged on, John Adams urged the colonies to begin deliberating to solidify local governments through the adoption of constitutions. Strongly influenced by Adams, this movement sparked the creation of independent governing State bodies.

John Adams quickly became regarded as the prominent source for the development of local governments and solidified this notion with the publishing of his pamphlet "Thoughts of Government." There were many influential documents published during this era, which enlightened individuals and leaders to separate governing bodies and the power of free thought. "Thoughts on Government" focused on the art of politics and the powerful guidance it contains in regards to social function and human happiness. Adams’ philosophy was simple: the government should be given power and established to meet the needs and desires of the individual.

In "Thoughts of Government" Adams wrote that the British Parliament was an empire constructed of laws and not men. This philosophy ran deep in American society and politics, eventually influencing the creation of the United States Bill of Rights.

On June 7th, 1776 John Adams agreed to the resolution of independence and later played an imperative role in the drafting of the historical document. Although the Declaration of Independence was primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, Adams is regarded as playing the most substantial role in the debate for its adoption.

A few years following the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Adams constructed Massachusetts' new Constitution which offered an assortment of policies and societal innovations used to this day. The Constitution written by Adams was the first to be ratified by the people of the State and the first to feature a bicameral legislature, a distinct judicial branch, and a clear executive with two/thirds veto powers.

John Adams’ views on social classes and interaction are still relevant and innovative for present day society. Adams believed that all forms of society would be separated based on money or class. This notion was inevitable to Adams. However, he believed that prominent or wealthy individuals should not take part in politics because of their inherent power and inability to relate to the common man. Adams never owned a slave nor believed in the idea of slavery. This stance is a reflection of the man's character and stresses his stance on civic virtues.

NEXT: John Hancock

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