GHENT, WV (WVNS) — Most know of John Adams as the second President of the United States, but there are a few interesting facts about him that you might not know about.
He defended British soldiers after the Boston Massacre:
Though he was a part of the Sons of Liberty and was very active during the American Revolution for the U.S., Adams volunteered to represent nine soldiers charged with manslaughter for the Boston Massacre. He did this to ensure a fair trial, arguing that the soldiers shot in self-defense against “a motley rabble” and won for seven of them, even Captain Thomas Preston, who was the British officer in charge. The other two soldiers were convicted but did not serve time in prison.
He was the first president to live in the White House:
When Adams arrived in Washington, D.C., the newly established capital was still under construction. The President’s House (later the White House) was still far from completion, so he had to live at Tunnicliffe’s City Hotel until The White House was finished in November of 1800.
He died the same day as Thomas Jefferson:
Though bitter political rivals, Adams and Jefferson made amends after their time in the White House. Oddly enough, the two signatories of the Declaration of Independence died exactly 50 years after the document’s signing on July 4, 1826. Adams whispered on his deathbed, “Thomas Jefferson survives,” but it wasn’t the case, because five hours earlier Jefferson died at Monticello.
He believed that the president should be addressed as “His Highness:”
The debate on how to address the president was contested weeks after George Washington was inaugurated in 1789. Adams believed the office should have a grand title, similar to royal courts in Europe. He believed simply being president was not enough, so he thought that Washington should be called “His Majesty the President” or “His Highness, the President of the United States of America, and Protector of the Rights of the Same.” This did not take to effect since Americans wanted to rid themselves of a monarch.
He founded one of the U.S.’ scientific societies:
Being a Harvard scholar, Adams cherished knowledge and supported science and the arts in the U.S. He proposed the establishment of the American Academy for Arts and Sciences in 1779, which still exists as a scholarship to this day.
If you would like to read a longer list of facts about our second president, visit history.com’s 10 Things You May Not Know About John Adams (history.com).