MVP (Most Vice Presidential) #1: John Adams

Welcome to Most Vice Presidential! These posts are about of America’s veeps, known and unknown. Because behind every great man, there is another man who we don’t really care about as much. First up, John Adams.

Name

John Adams

Also Known As

Atlas of Independence

Colossus of Independence

Duke of Braintree

Johnny Bonny

Ole Sink or Swim

His Rotundity (not preferred)

Party

Federalist (proponent of the Constitution)

Yep, That Sounds Like Me

“A government of laws, and not of men.”

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”

“My country has contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” [On the Vice Presidency]

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. ”

My Guy

George Washington

Actually did have teeth, they just belonged to another person first

My Gal

Abigail Smith-Adams

Aaaand smile! Or…not. That’s good, too…

Abigail was known for her intelligence–her husband considered her his intellectual equal. She was an early advocate for women’s rights and access to education. She was referred to as “Mrs. President” when she became the first lady, because she was so active in political affairs.

My Friends Would Say I’m…

Morally upright

Intelligent

Pragmatic

My Enemies Would Say I’m…

Elitist

Stiff

Undemocratic

Hobbies and Interests

Drinking hard apple cider for breakfast

Writing love letters to Abigail, his wife/third cousin

Sick burns

Arguing with frenemy Thomas Jefferson about the interpretation of the Constitution

Hating Alexander Hamilton

Background

Born in 1735 in Braintree, MA, Adams was a direct descendant of the Puritans, which explains his lifelong proclivity towards hard ass-ery. He yearned to become successful and respected by his peers, which led him to study law.

Vogue, 1766 (Sep. Issue)

Adams was one of the most staunch supporters of colonial independence from Britain. His education in law, combined with his strict moral rectitude, made him immovable on the rights of the English citizen to a fair trial and representation in his government. When the English imposed the Stamp Act of 1765, he was at the forefront of the opposition. Most notably, he pushed the Continental Congress to nut up and confront the crown when they were deciding what course of action to take in 1776 (Sit Down, Mr. Feeny).

He met with King George III after the Revolution in order to restore some good faith between Britain and its former subjects, which was awkward, because they had been longtime enemies.

Getting to Office

Adams came in second to George Washington in the presidential election of 1789. At the time, the Constitution dictated that the runner up would become the vice president. That became an issue later on, but Adams and Washington had similar enough political convictions that they worked well as a pair.

Filter: Willow

As Veep

Not that it really mattered, though, because Washington rarely sought Adams’s counsel. Also, the two just weren’t very close.

As seemingly unimpressive as the role of VP is today, it was even more so in the early republic. He was quite salty about it, actually. His big claim to fame as VP is that he holds the record for most ties broken in the Senate (31).

[Heavy Breathing]
When the senate was trying to decide on what to call the president, because I guess “President of the United States” was just a little too on the nose, he was mocked for his contributions. To be fair, they were things like “His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of Their Liberties.” Dial it back a little, John.

After Leaving Office

He became the United States’ second president. Hard shoes to fill, because everyone loved Washington so much, and liked Adams so little. I can’t imagine why…

I’m guessing he was too fun and laid-back?

The End

Adams died on July 4, 1826, hours within the death of Thomas Jefferson, with whom he had worked to draft the Declaration of Independence. Poetic, no?

 

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