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John Adams was born in October, 1735 in Braintree, Massachusetts. John Adams is best known as both a signer of the Declaration of Independence and as the President of the United States from 1797-1801, following George Washington.

As an early colonist agitator against the Stamp Act of 1765, John Adams helped draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He served as an all-purpose diplomat for the new republic during the Revolutionary War, and after the war, in 1785, he became the first American Minister to London. He served two terms as vice-president under Washington (1789-97), and beat Thomas Jefferson in 1796 to become president himself. He was respected but not popular, and served one term before losing to Jefferson in the elections of 1800. His son, John Quincy Adams, was president from 1825 to 1829.

Adams was the first president to attend Harvard University and the first to have a son become president. His wife, Abigail Adams, is one of history’s best-known First Ladies. By great coincidence, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died in separate states on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

“In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.”

“A government of laws, and not of men.”

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

“Fear is the foundation of most governments.”

“I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.”

“Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.”

“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.”

“Power always thinks… that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all his laws.”

“The happiness of society is the end of government.”

“The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea.”

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