Unit Study Supplement: John Adams, U.S. 2nd President
Education was taken seriously in the Adam’s family and John was very serious when it came to learning. He was not only homeschooled by his father and mother, but accompanied his dad in various trips abroad. This allowed him to gain an abundance of knowledge through his studies and travel. The wealth of knowledge he learned from the diverse educational opportunities he encountered allowed him to thrive.
Serving as our nation’s first vice president and 2nd President of the United States of America, President John Adams constantly pursued independence, peace and honor. In addition to his time in office, Adams achieved respect in numerous other instances. He graduated from Harvard where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degree, and excelled as a lawyer, writer, diplomat and Founding Father of the USA.
Adams persistently fought for the betterment of our country in and out of office. Before presidency, he refused to relent until the U.S. acquired independence. As President, Adams maintained peace in the midst of thick turmoil. His hunger for honor and respect drove his perseverance to excel in all his occupations. 217 years later, we can admire John Adams’ accomplishments including all the effort, wisdom and peace he contributed to our beloved country.
John Adams Fast Facts
|Born||October 30, 1735|
|Death||July 4, 1826|
|State of Birth||Massachusetts|
|Names of Spouse||Abigail Smith|
|Served as President||1797-1801|
|Age When Elected to Office||61|
|Vice Presidents||Thomas Jefferson|
John Adams Timeline
Born on October 30th in Braintree (now Quincy) Massachusetts.
Entered Harvard College at age 16.
1755Graduated from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Afterwards, Adams taught school in Worcester before deciding to pursue law.
Began reading law under John Putman (an outstanding lawyer in Worcester).
1758Acquired a Master of Arts degree from Harvard.
1763Published 7 political theory essays in Boston newspapers under the pen name “Humphrey Ploughjogger”.
Married Abigail Smith on October 25th.
1765Wrote “Braintree Instructions” which was sent to the Massachusetts a representative to encourage opposition towards the Stamp Act of 1765.
Son, John Quincy Adams, who would become the 6th president of the United States, is born.
1774Attended First Continental Congress.
Attended Second Continental Congress
1776U.S. gained independence.
1777Accepted a position as a Commissioner to France. John Quincy Adams accompanied.
1780Traveled to the Dutch Republic as an ambassador.
1785Appointed first American ambassador to Great Britain.
Became vice president under George Washington.
- Sworn into office as second president.
- Promised to send a peace treaty to France, but also called for increase in army defenses because of France’s threat. The Peace treaty was rejected the following year.
- Adams signs “Alien and Sedition Acts”.
- May – Undeclared Quasi War began.
- The Secretary of Navy position is created in the Cabinet.
- Enacted Direct Tax of 1789 to pay for Quasi War.
Became vice president under George Washington.
Lost election, succeeded by Thomas Jefferson, his former friend and vice president.
Died at age 90 from congestive heart failure.
Interesting Facts About John Adams
While learning about John Adams’ accomplishments may be interesting, homeschoolers may also enjoy discovering the lesser known facts about the 2nd President of the United States.
- Adams was the first president to live in the White House. He and his family inhabited it for 4 months while the paint was still wet.
- Adams organized the “Committee of 5” who drafted the Declaration of Independence.
- Deeming campaigning a “silly and wicked game”, Adams never campaigned for presidency.
- The Navy department in The Cabinet was created by Adams during his presidency.
- Adams is nicknamed “Father of the Navy” because of the relationship he held with the Navy while in office.
- The oldest professional musical organization in the country, the United States Marine Band, was formed by Adams.
- At a young age, Adams often skipped school to pursue his passions. Later, he was homeschooled by his mother and father.
- Adams was committed to diary writing. His journals are filled with well written entries covering varieties of topics including events, people and sentiments.
- His presidency is the only term that contained a president and vice president from different political parties.
- Despite their disagreements, Thomas Jefferson and Adams were wonderful friends. However, their friendship was shattered when Jefferson succeeded Adams as president in 1801. After 11 years of silence and discord, Adams wrote to Jefferson, and their friendship was restored. Although they never saw each other in person again, they communicated through letters for 14 years until their death.
- Jefferson and Adams died on the same day, exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1826.
- Adams’ last words were “Thomas Jefferson survives.” Ironically, Jefferson had died a few hours before.
- He is one of the few Founding Fathers who never owned a slave.
- Adams is the father of the 6th president, John Quincy Adams.
- The first five presidents of the US were all born in Virginia, except for John Adams who was born in Massachusetts.
- Father of the United States Marine Band, the oldest continuously active professional musical organization in our country.
Hands-On Activities for John Adams Unit Study
Elementary John Adams Activities
- Adams journaled very well, leaving wonderful information for later historians. He documented events and recorded information about people. Make a diary entry like Adams would; describe people in your life or the events of your day.
- Hunting was a favorite hobby of Adams’ as a student. Today, hunting laws are different in every state. Research the laws in your state and discover which apply to you.
Middle School John Adams Activities
- Adams wrote many letters to his wife, family, friends and politicians. He used strong honest words and wrote in an eloquent fashion. Write a formal letter to someone you know.
- Adams helped draft the Declaration of Independence. Memorize The Preamble of the Declaration of Independence to receive a deeper understanding of what the Founding Fathers wished to accomplish in the newborn country.
High School John Adams Activities
- Adams wrote many important political documents and political opinion essays including the Massachusetts Constitution, Braintree Instructions, True Sentiments of America and Thoughts on Government. Attempt to write an official political document.
- As president, Adams signed several controversial bills and often acted against the advice of his Cabinet. Although he successfully kept our country in peace, he divided his Federalist party and upset the Democratic-Republicans. This resulted in his loss of re-election. Write a report explaining what Adams could have done better to win re-election, but don’t forget to include the advances he contributed to our newly born country.
Quick John Adams Spelling Words
Additional Learning Links for John Adams
Want to extend your American presidents unit study even further? The following learning resources offer even more interesting facts about John Adams life and times and will also give your homeschoolers the opportunity to test their knowledge of what they’ve learned so far.