John Adams defended the British soldiers accused of shooting Americans during the â€śBoston Massacreâ€? All but two of the eight soldiers were successfully acquitted.
John and Abigail Adams exchanged approximately 1160 letters to one another over a 40-year period.
At the time, letters were delivered by hand, by trusted friends, colleagues and servants. Often, multiple copies were sent abroad via different sailing vessels in case a ship was intercepted and the letters had to be thrown overboard.
John Adams wrote to Abigail that July 2 would hereafter be celebrated in America â€śas the great anniversary Festivalâ€¦commemorated with Pomp and Parade, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminationsâ€¦â€?
Despite their mutual admiration for each other, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson became staunch political enemies. They later reconciled but never saw each other again, only communicating by letter.
Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day: July 4, 1826 â€?the 50 th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
John Adams was the primary author of the MA state constitution that still governs today.
Abigail was one of the countryâ€™s earliest feminists, asking that in writing the Declaration of Independence, the delegates â€śremember the ladiesâ€?and to â€śnot put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could.â€?
When John Adams went to Amsterdam, he did so as a â€śprivate citizenâ€? only later receiving an official commission from the Continental Congress to secure a substantial loan from the Dutch.
Abigail often signed her letters â€śPortiaâ€? not for Shakespeareâ€™s heroine but rather for the wife of Romeâ€™s Brutus.
Although John Quincy Adams became the fourth president of the U.S., his younger brothers, Thomas and Charles, did not fare as well, both dying of alcoholism.
Abigail Adams Smith (daughter of John and Abigail) died from breast cancer.
The direct descendants of John and Abigail Adams still gather annually at the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, MA.
Digital copies of the Adams letters (and many others) can be seen here.