The Life of John Adams

Topics: John Adams, United States Declaration of Independence, George Washington Pages: 4 (1048 words) Published: July 22, 2013
John Adams was born on October 30, 1735 in Quincy, Massachusetts. He was a direct descendant of Puritan colonists from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He studied law at Harvard University, and in 1758 was admitted to the bar. In 1774, he served on the First Continental Congress and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. Adams became the first vice president of the United States and the second president.

ohn Adams was born on October 30, 1735 in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts. His father, John Adams Sr., was a farmer, a Congregationalist deacon and a town councilman, and was a direct descendant of Henry Adams, a Puritan who emigrated from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638. His mother, Susanna Boylston Adams, was a descendant of the Boylstons of Brookline, a prominent family in colonial Massachusetts.

At age 16, Adams earned a scholarship to attend Harvard University, where he developed an interest in law, despite his father's wish for him to enter the ministry. After graduating in 1755, at age 20, Adams studied law in the office of John Putnam, a prominent lawyer. In 1758, he earned a master's degree from Harvard and was admitted to the bar.

Adams quickly became identified with the patriot cause, initially as the result of his opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765. He wrote a response to the imposition of the act by British Parliament titled "Essay on the Canon and Feudal Law," which was published as a series of four articles in the Boston Gazette. In it, Adams argued that the Stamp Act deprived American colonists of the basic rights to be taxed by consent and to be tried by a jury of peers. Two months later Adams also publicly denounced the act as invalid in a speech delivered to the Massachusetts governor and his council.

In 1770 Adams agreed to represent the British soldiers on trial for killing five civilians in what became known as the Boston Massacre. He justified defending the soldiers on the grounds that the facts of a...
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