John Adams, Jr. (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American lawyer, author, statesman, and diplomat. He served as the second President of the United States (1797–1801), the first Vice President (1789–97), and as a Founding Father was a leader of American independence from Great Britain. Adams was a political theorist in the Age of Enlightenment who promoted republicanism and a strong central government. His innovative ideas were frequently published. He was also a dedicated diarist and correspondent, particularly with his wife and key advisor Abigail.
He collaborated with his cousin, revolutionary leader Samuel Adams, but he established his own prominence prior to the American Revolution. After the Boston Massacre, despite severe local anti-British sentiment, he provided a successful though unpopular legal defense of the accused British soldiers, driven by his devotion to the right to counsel and the "protect[ion] of innocence". As a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, Adams played a leading role in persuading Congress to declare independence. He assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and was its foremost advocate in the Congress. As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain, and acquired vital governmental loans from Amsterdam bankers. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780 which influenced American political theory, as did his earlier Thoughts on Government.