Adams' reputation as a crusader for justice is enforced after the Boston Massacre in 1770, and is invited to join as a member of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
Debates are spurred among the Continental Congress after the British attacks on Lexington and Concord in 1775, but Adams is met with skepticism by some of his colleagues for his arguments for Massachusetts and for independence.
In an effort to land support the colonist's revolt against the British, John Adams and Ben Franklin head to France. Finding only mixed results in Paris, John heads to Holland to continue his mission.
In 1781, while recovering from an illness in Holland, Adams is informed of Cornwallis's surrender to Washington and is eventually reunited with Abigail in Paris. Later, Adams meets King George III while serving as ambassador to England, finally returns home to Boston and his now-grown children, and considers a position in the new government.
Having been elected as the country's first vice president, Adams is disappointed by the small role in the government he has been given, and sees his friendship with Jefferson hurting due to the disagreement between England and France. Adams needs the help of Abigail when he succeeds Washington as president in 1797, in making sense of this job ahead and the country's future.
President Adams struggles to keep the U.S. out of a war with France. But his retention of Washington's cabinet and his support for the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 cause much controversy and effectively end his bond with Jefferson. Adams is upset over the death of his son, but plans his reelection after moving to the new capital city.
In retirement, John Adams begins to write his memoirs and works on mending his relationship with Thomas Jefferson through a series of correspondence. John Adams also sees his son, John Quincy Adams move forward on his political career.