Biography of John Adams

Education and Early Career (1745-1758)

"probably my Father received an Admiration of Learning as he called it, which remained with him, through Life, and which prompted him to his unchangeable determination to give his first son a liberal Education."

John Adams, Autobiography

John was taught to read by his father while he a was still a young child. John attended a series of schools. His favorite subject was math. John had little patience for schooling. His father had dreams of John graduating from Harvard and becoming a minister. John agreed to become more attentive of studies if his father would place him under the tutelage of Joseph Marsh, who ran a more challenging school. John's school work improved and he entered Harvard in 1751, a year older than the usual student at that time.

Adams graduated in 1755 with Bachelor of Arts degree. Adams graduated 15 in a class of 24. At the time of his graduation, Adams planned to commit himself to practicing law. However, Adams' first job was as schoolmaster in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Early career

Throughout Adams' teaching career, John yearned to make his mark upon the world. There was little to stimulate John's intellectual needs. Adams learned to adjust to becoming the schoolmaster in the town, socializing in the evenings, meeting with old school friends or returning home during school breaks. All the while Adams was wondering if he was he was ruining his chances for a better career. At times in his classroom, Adams imagined himself as a dictator and his students as generals and politicians. John also had a bad habit of selecting the smartest student to lead the class in its studies, while John read or wrote at his desk.

During Adams time in Worcester, he began keeping his famous journal. His first entry was on January 14, 1756. John wrote that while he was forming good resolutions, he was never executing upon them. Thus Adams began his life long pattern of self doubt. Adams made regular entries in his journal for the rest of his life.

Soon Adams was looking to escape the hum drum life of a schoolmaster. After discarding many ideas of a new career, Adams settled on practicing law.