A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
Portrait of John Adams and actor Paul Giamatti Portrait of Abigail Adams and actor Laura Linney

Episode 5: Unite or Die

Following his inaugural address on 4 March 1797, John Adams found his first weeks as president of the United States filled with constant meetings. On 21 March, he moved into the President's House in Philadelphia (it would be nearly four years before the capitol moved to Washington) and was daunted by the chaotic conditions left by George Washington's servants. In a letter to Abigail the following day, John acknowledges his desire for her wise counsel in his first weeks in office.

Letter excerpt from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 22 March 1797

Letter excerpt from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 22 March 1797
I never wanted your Advice and assistance more in my Life. My Country will not always oblige her Public Men to make Brick without Straw. As soon as I shall be out of the Question, their Presidents will go on Swimmingly whoever Lives to See it. But it is wicked to complain.
John Adams (signature)