April 21, 1789 — John Adams was sworn in today as the first US vice president — 9 days before Washington was inaugurated. Adams served as VP from 1789 to 1797, and as president of the United States from 1797 to 1801.
An American Founding Father, Adams was a considered an Enlightenment political theorist who promoted republicanism, as well as a strong central government, and wrote prolifically about his often seminal ideas—both in published works and in letters to his wife and key adviser Abigail Adams.
Adams strongly opposed slavery, and was proud that he never owned a slave. After the Boston Massacre, with anti-British feelings in Boston at a boiling point, he provided a principled, controversial, and successful legal defense of the accused British soldiers, because he believed in the right to counsel and the “protect[ion] of innocence.”
Words of Wisdom for April 21, 2017
“The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations.”
— John Adams