John Adams: Leading by law, a flyer

By: Tuulia Koponen, Dock Bresnahan, & Stephie Teffeteller

A Born and Raised Massachusetts Man Serving His Country in Many Ways

Adams was born in Quincy, Massachusetts on October 30, 1735 as the son of John Adams Sr. and Susanna Boylston Adams. His father served as a farmer and town councilman in the community with his grandfather having emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638 . He also comes from a prominent family in colonial Massachusetts, the Boylstons of Brookline, having his mother been a descendant of the family.


Being part of the Federalist Party, Adams believed in the concept of "Implied Powers". Implied Powers suggests that the government is not limited to to what is specifically stated in the constitution. This concept gives the government a considerable amount of power which at the time made some fear that the newly formed government would become similar to the despised British monarchy. Adams, however, believed that “Implied Powers” was a good idea and argued for its adoption into the common practices of the government.


As of 1761, Adams had begun to rebel against British controls that inflicted the thirteen colonies' liberties by writing and acting out against them. This led to his choice of defending several British soldiers that fired and killed portions of a mob in Boston, known as the Boston Massacre, in 1770, alongside Josiah Quincy. Adams also served on the First and Second Continental Congress as a delegate helping write up the Declaration of Independence and therefore leading the independence movement. He created the draft of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1779 which later on served as a model for the U.S. Constitution. He also took on diplomatic roles in France and Holland during the Revolutionary War and helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris at the war's end. As of 1785-88, he served as Minister to the Court of St. James as an American ambassador for Great Britain, and upon his return to the United States of America, he was elected the very first vice president and served under George Washington.


As president from 1797-1801, he continued many of Washington's practices and created government stability by doing so. During the XYZ Affair of 1797-98, he managed to build up armed forces and a sense of nationalistic pride. He also signed the Alien and Sedition Acts while also managing to end the so-called Quasi War with France in 1800.

John Adams: The Boston Massacre trial

Staying true to what is right and doing what is right

Integrity: 1) equality of being honest; having strong moral principles 2) state of being whole and undivided


Adams showed great integrity when he was assigned to defend the British soldiers that were involved in the Boston Massacre. The popular belief at the time was that the soldiers should be punished appropriately for committing murder, but Adams put his feelings towards the case aside for it was his job to defend these men. He did not hold a bias opinion against the soldiers unlike the many that did, and ended up saving these men’s futures. True integrity is not the absence of bias opinions but rather the ability to control bias opinions and that is exactly what Adams had done.


Adams also had a very loyal, immovable spirit and once he decided on something, he would not stray from that path until completion. He believed that America should be a free country, and he stuck to that ideal. He was the only founding father to have never owned a slave and displayed his integrity through doing so while also displaying integrity through helping write up the Declaration of Independence. His integrity shined through in these actions due to his strong moral belief of America being a free nation for all to enjoy, as well as having the nation enjoy the liberties it deserved and never giving up until such was achieved.

Contributing to the community and executing citizenship one way or another

Citizenship: 1) membership in a community 2) status of being a citizen 3) quality of an individual's response to membership in a community


Adams took any opportunity he was presented with to serve his country whether it was a remarkable position or a less popular one. He served his country through a variety of positions including his terms as vice president and president as well as less prominent ones such as being a diplomat. He served two terms as vice president even though he claimed that his "country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived." Although he did not necessarily enjoy this position, he continued to take advantage of the opportunities his citizenship allowed him and kept contributing to his country.


He also showed his devotion to his country through his involvement in the First and Second Continental Congress. The First Continental Congress met in response to the Coercive Acts, or measures imposed on the colonies due to their resistance to British taxes. By getting involved with this cause he served his country by fighting for its independence that was continued in the Second Continental Congress. He assisted his country and therefore executed citizenship by helping lead an independence movement that could potentially allow others in the country to get more freely involved in society as well.

Bibliography (source as to where the quote was found)

"John Adams." The White House. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2013.