JOHN ADAMS, 2ND PRESIDENT - John Adams was inaugurated as our second President on March 4, 1797. He was the first president to be administered the oath of office by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who at that time was Oliver Ellsworth. During the American Revolution, Adams was perhaps the leading individual in the Continental Congress and served as a minister to France. When George Washington was elected our nation's first President, Adams was elected as the first Vice President. He then was elected President himself when Washington retired. Adams quote - "I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over this earth."