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Adams, John (1735–1826)

John Adams, American statesman and political philosopher, played a leading role in the American Revolution and served as the nation's first vice president and second president. He wrote a number of important works in constitutional and political philosophy, in which he argued for a balanced, moderate form of representative democracy to safeguard liberty. Adams, a Harvard-educated lawyer from a Puritan family, wrote the Constitution of Massachusetts, sat on the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence, and served for a decade as a diplomat in Europe, which resulted in his not being able to attend the Constitutional Convention.

In 1776, Adams was urged to write a short pamphlet, Thoughts on Government, that proved to be the most influential of his writings. It is a guide for ...

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