John Adams, by David McCullough
The book, John Adams, by David McCullough, is a powerfully written biography of one of our nation's greatest heroes. This biography explores Adams' life in great depth, unveiling a side to his life unbeknownst to those who have never studied his life in great detail. Through diary entries, letters, and various other documents, the reader grasps a sense of what Adams' day to day life was like, and is also able to grasp the enormity of his lifetime accomplishments.
In the battle for independence from Great Britain, the founding forefathers of our country came together, uniting for a common cause they would end up fighting for with their lives. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and many others take part of this panoramic chronicle of Adams' life, all coming together because of their devotion to their country.
In particular, of these men, Thomas Jefferson especially is exposed, and his relationship with Adams is explored, as it is a crucial fluctuating one. Though born opposites, they forge a relationship as diplomats, and as close friends, only after meeting and working together, however. In a letter to James Madison, before Jefferson first went to France to work with Adams, he likens him to a poisonous weed. After becoming great friends in Paris, however he writes back to Madison, "He is so amiable that I pronounce you will love him if ever you become acquainted with him". Later on though, as the advent of political parties comes into being, and during the intense struggle for the presidency of the election of 1800, the two become archrivals. Incredibly, after this, they become close friends once again, and amazingly die on the same day.
The other relationship described in great detail was that which he shared with his wife, Abigail Adams. Through all the times he spent away from her, working arduously for the freedom he was so determined to secure for the thirteen colonies, they stayed strongly attached, and wrote numerous letters to one another, many of which are shared. He writes to her while in Congress, one time sharing with her, "We live, my dear soul, in an age of trial. What will be the consequence, I know not." She encourages him, giving him her approval and support, in one letter writing, "You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you, an inactive spectator
.We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them." (p.21) Most of the times, they addressed each other using such words as "My dearest friend". She also, from time to time, requests different things from him, that she can use to barter for the various needs at home.
Coming together only during winter, when Congress is not in session, it was obviously hard for Adams not to become occasionally depressed without his "Portia," another name Abigail used to sign her letters. During his years in congress, Adams becomes distinguished in the revolution. As head of the Board of War, which met every morning and evening, he would have been busy enough. However, he was constantly on the floor in Congress, arguing for the things he passionately cared for, in between those meetings. He also belonged to numerous committees, of which was the Committee of Five, that which drafted the constitution. Throughout this time, Adams corresponds regularly with Abigail, and on his next winter at home, he resolves that he will not return to congress. However, when he is soon later elected to be a third commissioner to France to replace Silas Deane, they spend their first winter apart, Adams brings John Quincy, their eldest. He arrives only to learn in astonishment that before he had even set foot on French soil, his very purpose of the mission- to assist in negotiations for an alliance between the US and France, has already been accomplished. Despite these circumstances, he and his son stay in Paris for awhile, getting much accomplished,...
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