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House Backs Plan for John Adams Memorial

Previous attempts to honor Adams have stalled

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, D-Mass., spoke of the need for a John Adams memorial in the nation's capital. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, D-Mass., spoke of the need for a John Adams memorial in the nation's capital. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new memorial could be coming to Washington, placing Founding Father John Adams alongside his colleagues George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. 

House members passed a bill that would establish a commission to plan, fundraise and build a memorial to the country’s second president, picking up where a previous entity fell short.

Congress has authorized an Adams memorial before, but the group in charge did not select a site, design the memorial, receive the requisite approvals, or raise sufficient funds for the construction. The Adams Memorial Foundation was authorized by Congress in 2001 and original authority to build the memorial expired in 2009, but Congress has extended the foundation’s authority three times. It is currently scheduled to expire on Dec. 2, 2020.

“President Adams was a remarkable leader and a steadfast public servant. It’s a glaring oversight that there is no memorial in our nation’s capital honoring John Adams and his family for their role in shaping our nation,” said bill sponsor Stephen F. Lynch, D-Mass. Lynch represents Braintree, the birthplace of Adams. 

The proposal would create a federal commission, the Adams Memorial Commission, to take over the authorities and responsibilities of the Adams Memorial Foundation. The president,the president pro tempore of the Senate and speaker of the House could each appoint four commissioners to the 12-person panel. 

The memorial would honor the legacy of the whole Adams family.  John Adams was a delegate to the first and second continental congresses and served as vice president under George Washington. Adams himself was elected President in 1796.

“John Adams’ legacy was instilled through his entire family. John’s wife Abigail is known as an advocate for women’s rights and his son, John Quincy Adams, later served as our nation’s sixth president,” Lynch said in support of his bill.

The bill was passed by voice vote.

Daniel Peake contributed to this report.

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