John Adams: Property and the Right to Vote

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In May 1776[[[,]]] the highly ranked political philosopher John Adams wrote a letter to John Sullivan expressing the republican idea that property should be a prerequisite for the exercise of the right to vote. John Adams was a disciplined scholar that gained knowledge of government and law through his attendance at Harvard University at the age of sixteen. In 1758 he became a recognized able lawyer in Braintree, Massachusetts where he was born. Adams became very involved in government decisions and drew up a set of resolutions protesting the Stamp Act of 1764. He insisted that the act was not binding on the colonies because they were not represented in Britain's Parliament and had not consented to the tax levy. From this John Adams became well know throughout the colonies and was called upon for help and aid in decision making. In 1766 the Stamp Act was repealed with the help of Adams although soon after a new series of laws called the Townshend Acts arose. Adams gave legal assistance and resisted the royal governor of Britain’s offer to become advocate general in the admiralty court.[[[ok]]]

John Adams supported the patriotic measures that slowly led to the American Independence. His active support of the Boston Tea Party shows this dedication, however he also desired to have good relations with Britain. Adams said, “There is no man among us that would not be happy to see accommodation with Britain.” (Encarta, 3) Adams and the first and second continental congress put up a strong effort to have peace with Britain, but in 1776 the congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Around this same time Adams portrayed his idea of property and the right to vote in his letter to John Sullivan. This was the time that he and his allies urged all colonies to form independent governments. He said in his letter, “It is certain in theory, that the only moral foundation of government is the consent of the people.” (Riley, 96) I believe he wrote this in effort for...
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