American revolutionary, statesman and second president of the United States. One of the more radical patriots on the eve of the Revolution, Massachusetts-born Adams helped guide the Continental Congress toward a declaration of independence from Britain. From 1778 to 1788, Adams involved himself with international diplomacy, serving as minister to France, Britain and the Netherlands. After serving as Washington's vice president, he was elected president in his own right in 1796. Adams' administration suffered from Federalist infighting, international turmoil, and domestic uproar over the Alien and Sedition Acts, all of which contributed to his defeat in the election of 1800.