John Adams - Vice presidency



Knowing that Washington was certain to be president, Adams believed himself entitled to the second office as a reward for his services. But he considered his election with only thirty-four out of sixty-nine electoral votes to be a humiliation, for Washington had been chosen unanimously. With some anguish of mind he swallowed his pride and took his place in the government being formed. His eight years as vice president provided few opportunities for executive leadership. He conscientiously carried out the tedious duty of presiding over the Senate, in which role he broke several tie votes in favor of the administration. Despite being consulted only rarely on major decisions, he maintained cordial relations with the president. But Alexander Hamilton, Washington's secretary of the treasury, had been wary from the beginning of Adams' well-deserved reputation for independence. After his resignation in January 1795, Hamilton sought to continue and extend his political influence from his New York law office. Unable to deny Adams the vice presidency, Hamilton had succeeded in reducing his vote in the first election and then unsuccessfully sought to replace him in Washington's second term. By 1796, only John Adams stood in the way of Hamilton's domination of the Federalist party, as the supporters of the administration were now known.





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