Personal opinion based ranking (1 meaning burn the man, 5 being complete indifference, 10 being still awful but could be a lot worse):
4. Yes, that’s right, I don’t like John Adams. I hear a lot of people praising him because he didn’t own slaves and he wanted America to break free from Great Britain, but in my opinion his bad traits outweigh the good. He wasn’t an abolitionist. His presidency can be compared to Trump’s in a lot of ways, if that tells you anything. He had quite the superiority complex and wanted to make it so people treated the president as a king; he wanted anyone who spoke bad about the president to be criminally charged. He also had a history of slandering his political opponents. Granted, they weren't exactly the peak of professionalism either, but it wasn’t good from either side.
Background, context, and commentary:
John Adams had a relatively simple childhood. He was born in Massachusetts to a middle class family, studied at Harvard, and ended up working as a schoolteacher for a little while. A few years later he decided to start practicing law instead. His life remained simple like this for a little while longer, and probably would have stayed that way if he hadn’t met Abigail Smith. Abigail Smith––or Abigail Adams as you probably know her––was a bold and educated woman who fueled John Adams’ ambition to go further in the world.
He became more famous over time and his experience with law coupled with his strong sense of morality slowly turned into a political career. What happened after that is pretty well-known, he rose in the ranks, spent a little while working in forein affairs, and ended up becoming the first vice president of the United States. After Washington’s presidency ended, he ran for president and was elected. Adams is known for his strict moral code, his ambition, and his “effectiveness” as president. It is true that he got a lot done, but whether that is for worse or for better is up to your interpretation.
Five interesting facts about John Adams
1. John Adams was the first to live in the White House In fact, Washington never even lived in Washington D.C.; he lived in Virginia most of his life. The White House was finished in 1800, one year before Adams’ presidential term ended, and he lived there for his last year as president.
2. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson hated each other Although Jefferson was Adams’ Vice President, they hated each other so much that in the campaign where they ran against each other they were known to hurl personalized insults at each other; it took mudslinging to a whole new level. When Jefferson won the election, Adams refused to go to the inauguration. To top it all off, they died on the same day and Adams’ last words were, “Thomas Jefferson survives.”
3. And there was only one bed! really tried not to make the joke but I couldn’t help it. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were traveling to Staten Island together one time when they stopped to rest for the night. Unfortunately for them, however, they could only find a place with one small room with only one bed. I’m not going to tell the whole story here because it was a long and wild ride, but I do recommend looking it up.
4. He was terrible at dancing The only reason we know this is because it is known that he signed his son up for dance lessons so he wouldn’t end up like him. It really isn’t that interesting, it's just really funny to me.
5. His son became the sixth president This isn’t exactly hot news, but I would like to put emphasis on it because his son is a very special president and we all need to mentally prepare for his week. John Quincy Adams is not particularly well-known because he didn’t do much in office, but he was a political icon and deserves more attention than he gets.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed learning more about how screwed up our history is and please join me next week to do the same with our next president: Thomas Jefferson. If I made any errors or there is something I missed please let me know. I have far too much presidential knowledge in my head so everything that you read were things that I already had floating around.
Madelyn Rogers is a contributor to The Weekly Cad.