Deeply religious Massachusetts puritan, American patriot, member of the Continental Congress, diplomat, statesman, scholar, avid and vociferous agitator for independence from Great Britain, first Minister to Great Britain, second President of the United States. Irascible, opinionated, argumentative, determined to take the path he thought correct – regardless of opposition. Led the country through perilous times after George Washington’s departure from public life.
Under threat at home and abroad by revolutionary Jacobin France, Adams staked all of his political capital on peace. This, he considered his greatest achievement – which would go unrewarded much to his consternation.
Bitter at his re-election loss, he retired to Peace field in Quincy, Massachusetts, where he spent decades defending himself and his political accomplishments. These unfortunate public defenses, at the expense of others too often, destroyed his reputation.
At the conclusion of his single term in office Adams left Washington in the early morning darkness of March 4, 1801 without attending the inauguration of Jefferson, once his great colleague and friend and then later his rival/enemy – he never returned.