John Adams War


Michael Benton, Contributor

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john adams warJohn Adams was not a soldier, but he played a leading role in the success of the American War of Independence. Adams was a prominent critic of the Stamp Act in 1765, but did not officially join the Sons of Liberty out of fear of reprisal by the British authorities. As an early proponent of permanent separation from Britain, Adams was an influential member of the Continental Congress who advised Thomas Jefferson on the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. For John Adams, Revolutionary War seemed the only logical option. Before the start of the Revolutionary War, John Adams had successfully nominated George Washington to be the leader of the Continental Army. Adams had always been known as a great judge of character. Although John Adams' father had been a lieutenant in the local militia, John Jr. had not followed in his footsteps and his only experience with guns was as a hunter. John Adams war experience would mostly be in the halls of diplomatic power where the competition was nearly as fierce and crucial as the battlefield.

John Adams, during the Revolutionary War, spent many years in France and Britain as a representative of the American rebels. First, as a minister to France, Adams secured support for the Revolution from the most powerful country in Europe opposed to the British. Adams did not speak French nor did he get along vey well with his Gallic counterparts; distrust was prevalent on both sides. During his epic journey over the ocean, Adams and his eldest son, John Quincy, had narrowly escaped capture by a British frigate and survived a number of brutal winter storms. The only combat seen by John Adams in the Revolutionary War was during this journey when he helped the crew of their ship capture a British merchant vessel. John Quincy Adams was only 10 years old on their first trip to Europe, but by the time he was 14 he had entered the diplomatic service as a secretary for the American Minister to Russia. With John's wife, Abigail, involved politically as well, it seemed that the Adams family was at the center of the political upheaval during the Revolutionary War.

In 1783, John Adams played a leading role in negotiations with the British that led to the Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolutionary War and establishing a reasonably amicable trade relationship between Britain and the newly founded United States of America. Adams stayed in London to serve as the American Minister to Court of St. James, which in modern terms would be the Ambassador to Britain. In 1789 he was back in America during the first presidential election. Recognized for his excellent political acumen and service to the nation, he placed second behind George Washington and became the first Vice President of the United States. After two terms, he won the election of 1796 to become the second President of the United States. Adams envisioned a strong, centralized government to be formed after the War of Independence and became a leader of the Federalist Party.