Elections: John Adams


Quote of the Day

"A government of laws, and not of men." - John Adams

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” - John Adams

Day 2 VoCaBulary

Agree:  to give one's approval

Change:  to give a different position

City:  a place in which people live that is larger or more important than a town

Country:  an indefinite usually large stretch of land

Citizen: a person who lives in a city or town OR a person who owes allegiance to a government and is protected by it

Alien:  relating or belonging to another country

Caucus: a closed meeting of members of a political party or faction usually to select candidates or decide policy

Primary:  A preliminary election in which voters nominate party candidates for office.


John Adams:

John Adams (1735 - 1826) was the second President of the United States of America. He was President from 1797 until 1801. His Vice-President was Thomas Jefferson. Adams belonged to the Federalist Party.

John Adams was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, on October 30, 1735. His father was a farmer. Adams graduated from Harvard University in 1755, and went on to become a lawyer in Boston. He married Abigail Smith in 1764, and they had five children.

Adams was a delegate to both the First and Second Continental Congresses, and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. After the Revolution, in 1783, Adams went to France to sign the Treaty of Paris, and became the first US ambassador to Great Britain from 1785 to 1788.

In 1789, Adams was elected the first Vice-President of the US, serving two terms under President George Washington.


He was Vice President until 1797, when he was elected President, beating Thomas Jefferson by three electoral votes; Jefferson became his Vice-President. John Adams was the first President to live in the White House.

Adams' term as President (1797 until 1801) was often controversial and unpopular; he limited free speech rights, curtailed the freedom of the press, and made it difficult to become a citizen of the USA. Adams' political party, the Federalist Party, soon disappeared.

Although Adams and Jefferson had been political foes earlier in life, they exchanged hundreds of letters after Adams retired to his farm in Massachusetts.

Adams died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson had died earlier that same day. They were the only two signers of the Declaration of Independence that were elected President of the USA.

Discovering Elections

How did the first Americans cast their votes? The earliest elections were conducted by voice vote or with paper ballots put into ballot boxes. These paper ballots, called party tickets, listed names from just one party.

Who did President John Adams have to campaign against when he  was running to become president of the Unites States? A vigorous campaign between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson ensued, resulting in the election of Adams.

There are three levels of  government in America. What are these three levels? Our democratic system of government is separated into different levels and branches. There are three levels of government: 1) federal, 2) state, and 3) local.

Who could vote in America's early elections? At the time of the first Presidential election in 1789, only 6 percent of the population–white, male property owners–was eligible to vote. The Fifteenth Amendment extended the right to vote to former male slaves in 1870; American Indians gained the vote under a law passed by Congress in 1924; and women gained the vote with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.

What is the difference betweeen democracy and republic? The form of government entrusted to us by our Founders was a republic, not a democracy. Our Founders had an opportunity to establish a democracy in America and chose not to. In fact, the Founders made clear that we were not, and were never to become, a democracy.

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."- John Adams

A pure democracy operates by direct majority vote of the people. When an issue is to be decided, the entire population votes on it; the majority wins and rules.

A republic differs in that the general population elects representatives who then pass laws to govern the nation. A democracy is the rule by majority feeling (what the Founders described as a "mobocracy"); a republic is rule by law.

The Founders understood that Biblical values formed the basis of the republic and that the republic would be destroyed if the people's knowledge of those values should ever be lost.

What are the four main purposes of the American government? As outlined in the opening preamble of the United States' constitution, it was the Founding Fathers' intent to have the federal government perform six fundamental functions. An excerpt from the U.S. Constitution that best expresses these purposes reads, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America".

There are four basic purposes of the government which are:

1) Establish Justice

(2) Ensure Domestic Tranquility

(3) Provide for the Common Defense

(4) Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity

All of these things set out by the original framers are still enforced and acknowledged today.

Without these basic purposes, we might be living in a world of evil monarchies and an unfair system.