By Heather Lehr Wagner, Walter Cronkite
A biography of the second one president of the U.S..
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Extra resources for John Adams
Adams wrote him a brief note, congratulating him on his decision to spend spring far from the “din of politics and rumors of war,” and the two former friends soon found themselves exchanging letters on safe topics. 16 PM Page 60 JOHN ADAMS In May 1794, Adams received the welcome news that Washington was nominating his son, John Quincy Adams, to serve as minister to the Netherlands — a position that Adams himself had held many years earlier. Adams presided over the Senate when it confirmed his son’s nomination.
The two Virginians who stood on the dais with him—Washington and Jefferson—were tall and elegantly dressed. Adams provided a severe contrast; the shorter, stouter man was dressed only in a simple suit of gray cloth with no fancy buttons or buckles. 16 PM Page 63 THE BURDENS OF OFFICE John Adams, a Federalist, was elected to the presidency in 1797, after a bitter battle with Thomas Jefferson, who represented the Democratic-Republicans. Both men were sharply criticized in the press, and in the end, Adams barely won: He received three more electoral votes than Jefferson.
He hoped to be named America’s first minister to Great Britain. In February 1785, his wish was granted, and three months later he left for England. 13 PM Page 42 4 DIPLOMACY AND POLITICS JOHN ADAMS WAS 49 years old when he traveled to England to assume his new post as minister to Great Britain. The prospect of paying his first official visit to England’s King George III made him nervous. He had played a critical role in the war that had separated America from England; now he had come as the first official ambassador of the new nation.