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John Adams

Introduction
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Abigail Adams
John Quincy Adams
Horace Mann
Millard Fillmore
Dorothea Lynde Dix
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Phineas Taylor Barnum
Horace Greeley
Lucy Stone
Susan B. Anthony
Clara Barton
Louisa May Alcott
Charles William Eliot
William Howard Taft
Adlai Ewing Stevenson, II
Whitney Moore Young, Jr.

John Adams

John Adams
(1735-1826)
Second President of
The United States

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams
(1767-1848)
Sixth President of
The United States

These two stamps were issued in the 1938 Presidential Series.

John Adams
United First Parish Church, Quincy, Mass.

United First Parish Church, Quincy, Mass.

The two presidents with their respective wives are buried in a crypt below the entrance vestibule.

This section of the church is a national shrine, open to the public and maintained by appropriations of the Congress.

JOHN ADAMS (1735-1826)

John was the first son of John Adams and Susanna Boylston of Braintree, Mass. He enjoyed growing up on his father's farm, was educated for college, graduated from Harvard, studied law, and then in 1764 married Abigail Smith of Weymouth, Mass.

His law practice was successful, and it led to his being elected to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. This began his career in government, which continued through all his life.

He served in the Continental Congress, the Second Continental Congress, and was on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration, written primarily by Jefferson, was read to the Congress by John Adams, who spoke with earnestness and patriotism, with strong and able arguments for rights and liberty with these stirring words: "When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve, etc."

Many members of Congress were opposed to this paper, and there were strong debates on both sides; but Jefferson said, "Adams was the ablest advocate and champion of independence on the floor of the house. He was the Colossus of that Congress. He came out with a power which moved his hearers from their seats."

Late in 1777, Adams was named by Congress to serve with Benjamin Franklin as a joint commissioner to France.

First Day Cover

Back home, he helped draft the State of Massachusetts Constitution in 1780 with the aim of being "that it may be a government of law and not of men." He was chosen to travel to the Netherlands to ask for a loan, then to Paris to sign the Treaty of Paris. He took his sons, John Quincy and Charles, with him, leaving Abigail to run the farm in Braintree. After six years abroad, he sent for Abigail, who sailed to France with their 18 year-old daughter, "Nabby." When the treaty was completed, he was asked to be the envoy to the Court of St. James.

They sent John Quincy and Charles back home to be educated. Abigail and Nabby went with him to England. John's position was challenging, for after all, he was representing the former enemy; he asked to be returned to the U.S.A. Now he continued his career in government by becoming George Washington's Vice President.

Adams was full of large and noble qualities; he was energetic and honest, himself, and could not endure hypocrisy. He often responded with a quick temper and sharp words. Later, as President, he closely followed Washington's example.

He avoided war with France. He lost favor with the people by passing what are called the Alien and Sedition Laws. He was in the Federalist Party, while Jefferson was a Republican, later called the Democratic Party. Jefferson was elected the next President. Adams left the White House without greeting the new President, going home to Quincy, Mass. as his hometown was now named.

In his retirement he wrote articles, which were published by the newspapers, clearing up misunderstandings that had occurred. Then he was spoken of as "the noble old John Adams," and finally had the pleasure of seeing his son, John Quincy, made President. But the most beautiful thing during these latter days was that he and Jefferson grew to be friends again and wrote letters to each other as long as they lived.

The hand that had penned the Declaration of Independence -- the greatest paper in American history -- and the voice that, after calling for it among the loudest, presented it and plead for it, were both stilled by death on the fiftieth anniversary of the day in which Congress adopted it, July 4, 1828.

First Day Cover

After the Revolutionary War, John Adams was sent to Europe to negotiate matters concerning peace. He was in the Netherlands in 1782 to ask for a loan for the new United States of America.

While waiting for the Dutch people and rulers to organize and respond, John contracted a fever that was very weakening and hard to shake off. He felt wretched and longed for the ministrations of Abigail, his wife, who was in Braintree, Massachusetts.

He was so dispirited that he asked his son, John Quincy, to come from his duties in Russia to be with him. In great desperation he hired a horse and went riding around the countryside. This fresh air helped to invigorate him.

After five months the Dutch officials finally called him to their State House to witness the September 1782 signing of the document between the Netherlands and the U.S.A. The Dutch loan was for five million guilders at five-percent interest, the same interest that France was paying the Dutch and less than other countries charged.

He was elated that his prudence and patience had paid off. Then he was called to France to deal with the concerns of the "Treaty of Paris", which formally gave the United States of America independence from Great Britain.

First Day Cover

At the signing of the "Treaty of Paris" on Sept. 17, 1783, Great Britain acknowledged the independence of the United States of America. The preliminary Anglo-American articles (which went unchanged) were signed in November, 1782, after months of tortuous negotiations in which the chief American plenipotentiaries, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay, acquitted themselves so well that their achievement has been labeled "the greatest triumph in the history of American diplomacy."

The stamp is modeled after the historical painting by the American painter, Benjamin West (living in England), who was to paint the signers of the treaty. However, the English signers (commissioners) refused to pose for the painting. David Blossom, designer for this 1983 stamp, altered the arrangement. He moved John Jay to the center, muddied his face, and put the English signer, David Hartly, at the other side of the table. This is a case of artistic (not poetic) license.

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