J. Adams character jug produced by Sebastian Originals of Encino, California, circa 1973. John Adams (1735-1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency, he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain. Adams was the first person to hold the office of vice president of the United States, serving from 1789 to 1797 under President George Washington. He was elected as the United States' second president in 1796. He was the only president elected under the banner of the Federalist Party. During his term, Adams encountered fierce criticism from the Jeffersonian Republicans and from some in his own party, led by his rival Alexander Hamilton. Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts and built up the Army and Navy. He was the first president to reside in the White House.