by Frank Muller
Mr. Adams was a remarkable human being and contemplating even a portion of his writings and musings would consume the same lifetime it took him to record them. It is so worth the challenge.
An extraordinary intellectual, an insightful historian, a keen eye into the human condition and so much more….
For those of you who have read the David McCullough’s biography of Mr. Adams and were enthralled, this would represent a daunting yet rewarding further journey.
Below is a great overview of the compendium and a few nuggets about arguably the most significant of the founding fathers of our country.
However, one cannot speak of Mr. Adams and not immediately have to mention his most trusted advisor and wife – Abigail Adams. Self-taught, arguably more intelligent than Mr. Adams himself this remarkable woman in her own letters reveal a deeply sacrificial soul who dedicates her husband and children to the service of God, Country and humanity.
Mrs. Adams is the Northern star for Mr. Adams. Regardless of distance and time, their love is palpable and their dedication to each other and to moral principal is without question. However, despite their intellectual prowess and deep understanding of people and nations this is a couple that is hopelessly romantic. No dime store romance novel can compete with this real-world love story. Simply put, these two became one in heart and soul.
The other person that defines Mr. Adams is Mr. Thomas Jefferson. The mind and soul of the Revolution resides within these two titans of the 18th Century. In both the Declaration of Independence and later in the Constitution these two men worked to balance the notions of federalism and states’ rights.
This rhetorical question of centralized versus decentralized power was at the heart of the dispute with Great Britain and was at the heart of the dispute between the North and South. Our country came into existence because these two great men worked together to bridge that divide.
Sadly, later in life power came into their lives and the pride of self-righteousness separated which should never have been broken if obedience had prevailed. This pride would divide American polity from the late 18th Century until today. These two wildly different men who loved and respected the other greatly now separated themselves and the country began to tear itself apart.
Then, late in life these two men of letters began to correspond, and their musings are a gift to posterity. Reconciled in love and forgiveness they came to grips with the consequences of partisanship and party. Now, both out of power and all their revolutionary compatriots passing from this Earth, they wondered what would become of their grand experiment.
On July 4, 1826, these two brilliant men passed the same day 50 years after the formal signing of the Declaration of Independence and their last thoughts were of the other. I recommend for your consideration the linked volumes of letters by Mr. John Adams as another glimpse into the man and his mind. In it you will find the story of a man searching for his Creator, becoming one in body and spirit with his wife, and forming a brotherly bond with a man with whom he shared little in common, and serving all to the last full measure.
May Peace be with us all.