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Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 5 March 1797

Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 5 March 1797
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John Adams became the second president of the United States on 4 March 1797. The following day he wrote to his wife Abigail Adams, who was at their home in Quincy, Massachusetts, to give her an account of the inauguration. Adams described the "Solenm Scene" and reported that he had not slept the night before or after. He recounted the day’s activities and the delivering of his inaugural address, in which he concluded: "With this great Example before me; with the Sense and Spirit, the Faith and Honour, the duty and Interest of the Same American People, pledged to Support the Constitution of the United States I entertain no doubt of its continuance, in all its Ennergy and my mind is prepared, without hesitation, to lay myself under the most solemn Obligations to Support it, to the Utmost of my Power." John informed Abigail that throughout the proceedings George Washington’s "Countenance was as serene and unclouded as the day," and he imagined that the now former executive relished the conclusion of his presidential duties. Adams closed his letter: "All Agree that taken all together it was the sublimest Thing ever exhibited in America."

Further Reading

See an online presentation of a transcription of this letter within the digital collection, Adams Electronic Archive,

The annotated transcription of this letter is available in Adams Family Correspondence. Ed. by Sara Martin, C. James Taylor, Neal E. Millikan, Amanda A. Mathews, Hobson Woodward, Sara B. Sikes, Gregg L. Lint, Sara Georgini. Vol. 12, 1797-1798.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015.  See pages 9–11.