We've Got History

John AdamsOur school is named for one of the great patriots who shaped America, John Adams, the second President of the United States.

Adams was an important political philosopher. What made America great, Adams passionately believed, was winning its fierce fight for independence from the world's biggest superpower at the time, Great Britain. and with that victory the right to the freedom of self-rule.

Adams said, "People and nations are forged in the fires of adversity."

White HouseThis Founding Father was born in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1735 and attended the prestigious Harvard college, where he earned a law degree. His legal skill made him an important leader for the revolutionary cause. He served as Massachusetts' delegate to the Continental Congress, playing a leading role in persuading Congress to boldly declare independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

Learn more about the Declaration of Independence.

He worked with one of the most important Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, in writing the Declaration of Independence in 1776. During the American Revolution that followed their bold act of declaring themselves free from England, he served as an ambassador in Europe, working to gain important support for America. In 1775, it was Adams who nominated George Washington to be commander-in-chief. Vice presidents were chosen differently then, as the runner-up prize. Adams won enough votes to be Vice President twice under President Washington.

He and his wife, Abigail Adams, had a son named John Quincy Adams, who became the sixth President of the United States. Abigail Adams was an important force for equal rights and education for women. She urged her husband to consider extending the rights guaranteed under the Constitution "of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Such legal rights were originally did not apply to all Americans, but at first were denied to captive slaves, to poor non-property owners and to women. In her famous letter to Adams and the Congress in 1776, she wrote, "...Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could..."

Adams and Jefferson were important Founding Fathers, but Adams considered Jefferson his rival. Ironically, they both died on July 4, the anniversary of their greatest accomplishment, the Declaration of Independence.

Read more about John Adams at the Official White House site.

Adams Elementary was born in 1909 as a two-room schoolhouse in what was then outside the city limits, and called Normal Heights School and briefly renamed Kearny School. The name again changed in honor of Adams. The old buildings were replaced in 1929 by a two story red brick structure. That building was torn down, in part because of stricter earthquake safety laws. In 1961 the newly rebuilt Adams opened with 740 students.

Adams Elementary in 1909

Old photo of Adams Elementary

Old school

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