John Trumbull, 1793. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Second President, 1797-1801
John Adams was one of the most fervent proponents in the colonies
of independence from Britain, and used his eloquent writing and speaking
style to persuade other members of the Continental Congresses to move
with determination toward freedom. Adams helped draft the Declaration
of Independence and negotiate the treaty that ended the Revolutionary
War, and in 1789 he was elected vice president under George Washington.
Eight years later he succeeded him as the second U.S. President. During
his presidency, Adams came under fire from his countrymen for his
attempts to protect the shipping rights of the United States and keep
the country out of the growing hostilities between France and Britain.
But by establishing a naval department during this period, he was
honored as the "Father of the Navy." At the beginning of his presidency,
Adams and his family moved into the unfinished residence in the new
federal city, Washington, DC. His wish for the future of what was
later to be known as the White House was "May none but honest and
wise Men ever rule under the roof."