Thursday, October 26, 2023

Pop Culture Presidents: #2 John Adams

The second U.S. president, John Adams, was abrasive and not temperamentally suited for the role, but his intellect and statecraft somehow made him the perfect person to be elected in 1797. 

He had served as George Washington’s vice president for two terms, so he knew the ropes, and his foreign-affairs knowledge, at a time of great threat from other countries, was essential.


Adams and his wife Abigail were married for 54 years and had six kids. Unlike most of his contemporary Founding Fathers, Adams really had no pecadillos known to history. So, moving on to ... 


It appears that John Adams drank something with alcohol at every breakfast. According to Iron Horse Brewery's awesome blog

"President Adams may have been the most beer crazy prezzi of the lot. Some report that he started every morning with a hard cider, others say that he woke up to a beer for breakfast. Reportedly his favorite style of beer was a porter but he also enjoyed rum and Madeira. Historians have even recovered letters written by Adams to his wife describing in detail what kinds of alcohol he wanted, how much and at what prices."

Rock 'n' Roll

  • The pure emotion of Adams is what made him a real rocker. He was insecure, volatile, suspicious, filled with rage, funny, witty, loving, and compassionate, which must have made for frequent rollercoaster rides for those around him after Adams had had too much to drink (like, by mid-morning, for example).
  • His wife, Abigail, was rock n’ roll, demanding her husband not forget to “remember the ladies” in making laws for the new country.
  • At the end of his first term, his friend and Vice President Thomas Jefferson barely beat him in the election and Adams left the still-unfinished White House without even attending the inauguration. This would represent the end of federalism and the beginning of democracy.
  • One of his legacies showed that leading the country essentially from a position of independence (he wasn't a member of the Democratic-Republican Party and he was outcast from his own Federalist Party) would never go over well in the U.S.


  • As a fellow Federalist with Washington and Alexander Hamilton, members of his party constantly undermined him and went straight to those other two guys with their needs.
  • Adams signed a treaty to help end costly pirate attacks of U.S. merchant ships and created the Navy.
  • He created the 11th Amendment to prohibit lawsuits against states filed by citizens of other states or countries.
  • With Jefferson’s help, he established the Library of Congress, initially filled mostly with law books.
  • He signed the dangerous Federalist Alien and Sedition Acts that allowed the president to deport foreigners and suppress critical speech.
  • Congress’s first meetings in Washington DC occurred under his watch, even though the city wasn’t yet finished being built.
  • On the last day of his presidency, Adams created a system of federal judges, filled with his fellow Federalists, a group that is about to wane out of power with Adams’ exit from office.

No comments:

Post a Comment