5 Things You Didn't Know About John Adams

On October 30, 1735, John Adams, the second president of the United States, was born in Braintree, Massachusetts. Here are five interesting facts you probably didn't know about John Adams.

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He Was The First President To Live In The White House When the nation's capital moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., workers had to start building a house for the president. When Adams arrived in Washington, D. C., in the middle of 1800, the house was far from ready, so he was forced to temporarily reside at Tunnicliffe’s City Hotel.  Adams finally moved in on November 1, 1800, becoming the first president to live in what would later be called the White House. Defeated in the 1800 election, Adams only lived in the White House for barely more than four months.

Adams Defended British Soldiers After The Boston Massacre In March 1770, a band of British soldiers fired into a crowd of colonists, killing five. Historical articles often call this the Boston Massacre, and the popular story has the British firing relentlessly into a crowd of colonists that were throwing snowballs at them. Adams volunteered to represent the nine British soldiers charged with manslaughter to ensure they received a fair trial.  In the end, Adams got seven of the soldiers acquitted. The two soldiers convicted of manslaughter were branded on their thumbs but avoided prison sentences.

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Adams Died On The Same Day As Thomas Jefferson Once fellow patriots and then bitter rivals, Adams and Jefferson revived their friendship after their White House days. Shockingly, the two signatories of the Declaration of Independence both died 50 years to the day after the document’s adoption on July 4, 1826. On his deathbed, the 90-year-old Adams whispered, “Thomas Jefferson survives.” That actually wasn’t the case, because five hours earlier, the 83-year-old Jefferson had died at Monticello.

He Wanted The President To Be Addressed As “His Highness" When George Washington became the first president of the United States, he really didn't have much of a title. There was still debate around whether he should be addressed as "President" or something else, and Adams was clearly in the "something else" camp. He wanted the president to be addressed with a distinctly royal-sounding title, such as "His Highness" or "His Majesty."  To many Americans who had just rid themselves of a monarch, the titles were too royal, so Adams' suggestion was ignored. Congress agreed that Washington’s title should simply be “The President of the United States.” 

He Was The Author Of The Oldest Written Constitution Still In Use Today John Adams drafted the Massachusetts Constitution, which was approved by voters in 1780 and is still in effect today. The document’s structure of chapters, sections and articles served as a model for the United States Constitution, and its Declaration of Rights itemized individual liberties such as freedom of the press and freedom of worship that were later enshrined in the federal Bill of Rights.  The Massachusetts Constitution is the oldest written constitution still in use in the world.