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John Adams was born in Massachusetts, the son of a farmer. His father taught him to read when he was very young, then he attended school and entered Harvard on a scholarship when he was fifteen years old and graduated when he was twenty. After graduation he became a schoolmaster. He soon tired of teaching and decided to start studying to become a lawyer. When he was twenty-eight he married Abigail Smith. They had four children. One of their sons, John Quincy Adams, would later become President. At one time when he was a lawyer, he defended the British soldiers who were put on trial after what was called the Boston Massacre. No other lawyer would defend them, but John thought they should have a defender. He was very influential in the early days of America. John Adams was a brave person. When he was asked to go to France to enlist their support for the Revolution, he accepted the challenge. He and his 10-year-old son, John Quincy, braved the ocean on the ship "Boston" in the dead of winter.They finally made it, and father and son remained in France for about a year. John Adams served as vice-president to George Washington. He served one term as President, then went home to Quincy and remained there for twenty-five years until his death. When he was eighty years old he began writing a 16-volume history of France in the French language. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had become rivals, but they reconciled and they became friends again. They wrote letters to each other until their deaths which curiously occurred on the same day, July 4, 1826. John Adams was ninety-one years old.