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Adams, John

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Adams, John

 (b. Quincy, Mass., 19 October 1735; d. Quincy, Mass., 4 July 1826)    In 1768 Adams opened a law office in Boston, where he was the political lieutenant of his second cousin, Samuel Adams. He successfully defended the British troops tried for the Boston massacre. At the first and second Continental Congresses, he molded support for the Declaration of Independence. He was the principal author of the Massachusetts Constitution (1780), which influenced the federal Constitution's structure. He helped negotiate the treaty of Paris (1783), was minister to Britain (1785–8), and as first vice-president, decided the fate of legislation in 20 tie-votes during his term. His term as president, representing the Federalist party (1797–1801) was dominated by extremists from that party who controlled Congress, and after Adams broke with them in 1800, he lacked sufficient support for reelection. He then left politics.