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Meet Amazing Americans U.S. Presidents John Adams
Signing of the preliminary Treaty of Paris
Signing of the preliminary Treaty of Paris

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The Independent Leader

John Adams was an early member of the Continental Congress, which was created to resist British tyranny. It met in Philadelphia, eventually plotting American independence from Britain. While there, in 1775, Adams nominated George Washington, a Virginian, to lead the Continental Army. In 1776, Adams seconded the motion for independence in the Continental Congress and was a leader in the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776.

Adams later became a diplomat, representing the new U.S. government in Europe for more than a decade. He helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris in 1783, ending the Revolutionary War, and was the first official U.S. ambassador to Great Britain. His reputation as a patriotic leader continued to grow.

Returning to the United States after his foreign service, Adams served under George Washington from 1789 to 1797 as the nation's first vice president, a job he didn't really like. He was finally elected president (by three electoral votes) in 1796. There were 16 states in the union at the time of his election.

How do you think Adams described the vice presidency to his wife, Abigail?

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