Friday, February 8, 2013

John Adams

John Adam's Blackstone's Ratio Explanation
John Adam's Blackstone's Ratio Explanation (Photo credit: KAZVorpal)

Welcome back to Presidential Friday! Today, our topic shifts to the second US President- John Adams, serving from 1797 to 1801.

Adams was a Founding Father and… that guy between Washington and Jefferson. Adams is often skipped over by history, especially due to the prominent men preceding and succeeding his presidential term. Yet he was quite well known during his time, being a fervent patriot of the colonies in strong favor of secession from Great Britain. At the same time, he drew criticism from his fellow colonists for defending British soldiers who had killed American civilians in the Boston Massacre. Believing all men to be deserving of a fair defense and believing the mob of Americans to also be at fault for the massacre, Adams stood by his decision and was eventually adored even more by the public for his fairness and compassion. 


During his Vice Presidency, Adams involved himself in a month-long Senate Battle over the official title of the President. Adams’ suggestions included “His Majesty the President” and “His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of Their Liberties”. This penchant for fancy names as well as his physique led to Adams’ nickname, “His Rotundity.” 

He was a strong Federalist and therefore found himself at odds with Thomas Jefferson. He also found himself often going against the cabinet. Formerly Washington’s cabinet, Adams decided to keep the group despite opposing them in issues such as entering a war with France. In this way, Adams followed through on Washington’s desire for isolationism from Europe. 

Adams was also known during his Presidency for signing three ‘Alien’ and ‘Naturalization’ Acts to change immigration requirements and allow the President to deport immigrants who he deemed dangerous. Additionally, he signed the Sedition Act, criminalizing “false, scandalous, and malicious” against the government, punishable by fines of prison time. 

Adams lost reelection to Thomas Jefferson in 1800. The Federalist party’s opponents were more united at the time, as the Federalist became somewhat divided following George Washington’s death.  Jefferson was also popular amongst the Democratic-Republicans of the South, and the South’s population was currently represented more due to the three-fifths compromise, counting slaves as 3/5 of a person.

Adams, depressed after leaving the Presidency, became one of only four Presidents to survive their term yet not attend their successor’s inauguration. His son, John Quincy Adams, was one of the other three.

Sources: White, Wikipedia,

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