The Importance of John Adams 1763-1776
“Fear is the foundation of most governments,” (1) quoted by the fearless leader John Adams. John Adams played significant roles during the years of 1763 through 1776. He was in support of self-governing and independence which caused him to become the leader of the Boston Massacre. Between 1765 and 1776, Adams’s involvement in radical politics ran apace with the escalation of events. In 1770, he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and he later served as chief legal counsel to the Patriot faction and wrote several important resolutions for the lower house in its running battle with Governor Thomas Hutchinson. He also wrote a penetrating essay on the need for an independent judiciary, and his Novanglus letters are generally regarded as the best expression of the American case against parliamentary sovereignty. By the mid-1770s, Adams had distinguished himself as one of America’s foremost constitutional scholars. The year 1774 was critical in British-American relations, and it proved to be a momentous year for John Adams. With Parliament’s passage of the Coercive Acts, Adams realized that the time had come for the Americans to invoke what he called “revolution-principles.”4 Later that year he was elected to the first Continental Congress. Over the course of the next two years no man worked as hard or played as important a role in the movement for independence. His first great contribution to the American cause was to draft, in October 1774, the principal clause of the Declaration of Rights and Grievances. Adams also chaired the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence, he drafted America’s first Model Treaty, and, working eighteen-hour days, he served as a one-man department of war and ordnance. In the end, he worked tirelessly on some thirty committees. “Every member of Congress,” Benjamin Rush would later write, “acknowledged him to be the first man in the House.” Shortly after the battles at Lexington and Concord, Adams began to argue that the time had come for the colonies to declare independence and to constitutionalize the powers, rights, and responsibilities of self-government. In May 1776, in large measure due to Adams’s labors, Congress passed a resolution recommending that the various colonial assemblies draft constitutions and construct new governments. At the request of several colleagues, Adams wrote his own constitutional blueprint. Published as Thoughts on Government, the pamphlet circulated widely and constitution makers in at least four states used its design as a working model. Adams’s greatest moment in Congress came in the summer of 1776. On June 10, Congress appointed a committee to prepare a declaration that would implement the following resolution: “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved, from all Allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved.” On July 1, Congress considered final arguments on the question of independence. John Dickinson argued forcefully against independence. When no one responded to Dickinson, Adams rose and delivered a passionate but reasoned speech that moved the assembly to vote in favor of independence. Years later, Thomas Jefferson recalled that so powerful in “thought & expression” was Adams’s speech, that it “moved us from our seats.” Adams was, Jefferson said, “our Colossus on the floor.”(2)
John Adams was a very inspirational and encouraging person; it was no one but God that kept him so sane and strong. Although John Adams only served one term he was able to do what would have taken some others in his position more than just one term. Unfortunately, John Adams does not get the praise that he deserves even though he was the one that persuaded Americans that they need to break away and get free from...
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