American Presidents

John Adams: Life Portrait

Streamed Video

Access Program
from 3/22/99
Access only Part 1
1 hr. 06 mins.
Access only Part 2
1 hr. 27 mins.

Purchase Videotape

This program is also available on videotape.

  • Purchase from the C-SPAN Archives or
  • Apply for a C-SPAN Archives Grant


    First Lady: Abigail Adams, Wife

    Wife's Maiden Name:
    Abigail Smith

    Number of Children: 5

    Education Level: College

    School Attended: Harvard University

    Religion: Unitarian

    Teacher, Lawyer, Surveyor, Selectman

    Public Service

    Dates of Presidency: 3/4/1797 - 3/3/1801

    Presidency Number: 2

    Number of Terms: 1

    Why Presidency Ended: Defeated

    Party: Federalist

    His Vice President(s): Thomas Jefferson

    Vice President For: George Washington (1789-1797)

    Colonial Government: Mass. Legislature (1768-1774), Continental Congress (1774-1777)

    Other Offices:
    Diplomat to France; Diplomat to the Netherlands; Diplomat to Great Britain

    Methodology  &  Resources

    Did You Know?

    John Adams is the first president whose son became president.
    He was the first president to live in the White House--then referred to as the Executive Mansion.
    He died on July 4, 1826, the same day as his friend and political rival Thomas Jefferson.
    During his administration, the Alien and Sedition Acts--designed to suppress political opposition--were passed.

    C-SPAN in the Classroom is a free membership service for teachers. Join C-SPAN in the Classroom now!

    Membership includes:

  • Unrestricted taping and viewing rights on programming produced by C-SPAN for use in the classroom.
  • Access to classroom resources and teaching ideas from fellow educators.
  • E-mail updates about programs and resources related to the topics you teach.
  • Other John Adams Resources and Activities

    C-SPAN in the Classroom
    John Adams: Life Portrait Video Clip List

    Now it is easier to find a short video clip for your classroom! Use the clip list below to search for short, relevant segments from the featured American Presidents: Life Portraits program.

    Directions:   Click on the streamed video links to the left and view the program online; use the start and end times in the list below to cue up and watch the segments of your choice. The clips shaded in gray are those recommended by C-SPAN's Teacher Fellows.
    John Adams Program
    Video Clip List
    Clip # Start Time End Time Description
    1 0:32 4:41 Biographical vignette
    2 4:42 5:56 Description of Adams home; portrait of Adams
    3 6:24 7:57 Author David McCullough's discussion of similarities, differences between Jefferson and Adams
    4 7:57 10:34 Description of Adams's library and family tradition
    5 10:34 12:08 Background, historical info on John Adams
    6 12:08 14:02 Painting of John Adams, discussion of build, appearance
    7 14:02 17:08 McCullough's description of Abigail Adams
    Watch Clip 7
    8 17:25 18:14 Description of grounds, gardens, library of Adams's home
    9 18:12 19:37 Description of Adams's background, home
    10 19:37 23:16 Discussion of home, where the Adams family lived before he was ambassador to England; portrait and articles in the home
    11 23:16 27:26 Caller question regarding intellect of Jefferson and Adams
    12 27:26 29:33 Discussion of birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams
    13 29:55 33:40 Caller question re: relationship between Jefferson and King of England; comments on relationship between America and Great Britain after the Revolution
    14 33:40 34:45 Discussion of Adams's descendents, other notable figures in Adams family
    15 34:45 37:09 Question and answer about relationship between George Washington and John Adams
    16 37:09 40:26 Adams's views on politics; discussion of library; founders' ideas about education; desk where Adams wrote the Constitution of the Commonwealth Massachusetts
    Watch Clip 16
    17 40:26 47:15 How rift between Jefferson and Adams started; views on French Revolution; control of press by political parties
    Watch Clip 17
    18 47:15 52:51 Separation of church and state; morality and ethics, today and in 18th century; Adams's morality; wise and honest men in White House
    19 52:55 55:23 John Stanwich, Park Ranger, Adams National Historic Park; history of homes
    20 55:23 57:12 Historical perspective of loss of independence in modern times and in the past
    Watch Clip 20
    21 57:12 1:00:38 Geography of area around Adams home, Adams Historic Park, budget and maintenance of home by National Park Service
    22 1:00:38 1:02:08 Discussion of weather and fortitude of people of New England; stock of people John Adams came from
    23 1:04:06 1:06:37 Adam family history; family as "maltsters"; John Quincy Adams journal
    John Adams Program
    Video Clip List - Part 1 of 2
    Clip # Start Time End Time Description
    24 2:45 5:12 Amy Lassiter, sophomore at John Adams High School, on why her school is named after Adams
    25 5:12 8:25 Political parties, Federalists and Republicans; John and Abigail Adams on slavery
    26 9:41 12:47 McCullough on libraries, books; value of books to John Adams
    27 12:47 14:58 Abigail Adams writing to her son
    28 14:58 21:55 McCullough on his book about Panama Canal; ancestor of Adams; Adams family tradition of hard work; letters between Abigail and John
    29 21:55 26:35 Romantic relationships of Nabby Adams; humanity of Adams family
    30 26:35 30:33 Adams's view on the role of money in today's society; portrayal of John Adams in musical/play 1776; advocate for independence
    Watch Clip 30
    31 30:33 31:39 Gravesite of the two Adams presidents ; preservation of historical sites
    32 31:39 36:23 Caller question regarding relationship to Quincy family; Abigail Adams watching Battle of Bunker Hill
    Watch Clip 32
    33 36:23 41:19 Importance of education in life; reading of Pilgrim's Progress
    34 41:16 45:01 Adams family burial grounds; Joseph Bass, John Adams travel companion and servant; transportation and communication in the 18th century
    35 45:01 49:18 Abigail Brown, descendent of Adams; Adams family reunions; what it means to be from the Adams family
    36 49:18 53:24 Adams's career as public figure; establishing credit with Holland; treaty in France ending American Revolution
    37 54:20 56:01 Mastectomy of Nabby Adams; relationship between mother and daughter
    38 56:01 58:31 Political parties past and present; dislike of Alexander Hamilton
    Watch Clip 38
    39 58:31 59:46 John and Abigail Adams's bedroom
    40 59:46 1:01:56 Caller question regarding McCullough's book on Lewis and Clark; Jefferson's record of finances; contrast Jefferson's budget for self versus budget for country while president
    41 1:02:02 1:04:40 Adams as a teacher early in his life; reading of Adams's diary entry
    42 1:04:40 1:07:38 McCullough on writing books, looking at primary sources, researching, visiting significant historical places
    43 1:07:38 1:10:33 John Adams's study; desk where Adams wrote letters to Jefferson from 1812 until their deaths in 1826
    44 1:10:33 1:13:33 Jefferson and Adams's death 50 years after signing of the Declaration of Independence; Adams's response to 50-year anniversary, "Independence Forever"
    45 1:13:33 1:18:46 McCullough on writing and teaching of history; importance of history
    46 1:19:27 1:24:32 Caller question regarding film Amistad; slavery and Sally Hemmings; Alien and Sedition Acts

    Created by America's Cable Companies.