Jonathan Sewall vs John Adams

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Jonathan Sewall and John Adams were close friends and agreed on many issues. British policies towards the American colonies during the 1760s and 1770s, however, was not one of them. Sewall, a staunch supporter of authority, defended British policies. John Adams, on the contrary, believed the policies to be unjust and thus challenged British authority. Sewall believed that the colonial challenge to British authority threatened the very way of life in the colonies while Adams thought that British authority provided a bigger threat. Each man’s view of the cause of the revolution also differed. Sewall defended British Authority by stating that, “Man is a social Animal” and that without authority and rules there can be no society. He also contended that rules protect people and thus provide us with “unlimited freedom of action.” Sewall believed that the colonists should be grateful that they have the King and Parliament in England to help lead and protect them. The colonists, on the other hand, felt that they were being treated unfairly by the British Government and wanted it to stop. Sewall, however, thought that if the King had made a mistake he would have seen the error of his ways and fixed the problem. In Sewall’s eyes, “the Merchants, from a Desire of a free and unrestrained Trade” and the Clergy tricked “the simple meaning Mechanics, peasants and Labourers” into believing they were wronged by the Crown and were thus responsible for the tension between the colonies and Britain. John Adams, on the other hand, believed that parliament and the King had too much power over the colonies. He felt that parliament did not have the right to tax the colonies. Adams also disagreed with the decision of Parliament “that judges’ salaries be paid by the Crown rather than the colony’s legislature.” “a move Adams believed was intended to destroy the independence of the judiciary.” He believed that the Crown was attempting to eliminate some of the freedom that the...
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