Jason’s Ranting & Raving

Those who don’t read have no advantage over those who can’t.

Book Review – John Adams by David McCullough

Posted by jaystile on November 18, 2008

Originally Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2007

John Adams by David McCullough is a biography on the United States of America’s second president. This biography was assembled from the reading the numerous letters that John Adams and his wife Abigail had written to each other. Other correspondance was used from various political figures of the time like Thomas Jefferson and John Jay. You almost get as much information about the career of Thomas Jefferson as you do John Adams in this book. This non fiction book is 650 pages. Some interesting things you might like to know about our president.

– One of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence. Adams was “The Voice”, Jefferson was “The Pen” of this great document_
– The Declaration of Independence was signed in secret on July 2nd, with some signatures not coming until weeks later. The secrecy was due to British spies and loyalists.
– John Adams was commissioned as a representative to France during the Revolutionary War. His ship was chased by British frigates. Also along the way a lightening struck and destoyed the main mast.
– The French foreign minister did not like John Adams and asked to have him removed. Due to America’s need to have the French assist them during the war, Benjamin Franklin wrote a scathing letter to congress against him which ended Adam’s career in France. At this time Franklin was close to 80 years old and did not want to ruffle any feathers. Adams was getting upset because the French were not fulfilling their promises of aid. Adams was constantly pressuring the French to live up to their agreements. He ruffled feathers by taking out letters in the newspapers describing the American plight.
– Adams was then tasked as emissary to the Dutch. There he took multiple years building up the case for the American people. Finally, his efforts were successful, a treaty was signed at The Hague recognizing the United States. You must note that the Dutch were under pressure of war from England if they made such a treaty. However, Adams education of the public forced pressure on the Dutch govenment. After recognition, Adams was able to borrow money from the the Dutch bankers to help fund our war against the British.
– After Adams came back he was elected Vice President under George Washington.
– After Washington Adams was elected President of the United States.
– Adams along with Washington were ‘Anti-Party’. The parties of the time were the Federalists and the Republicans.
– Adams fought for the creation of a Navy. Which came in helpful in the future during the Quasi-War with the French and the War of 1812 with the British. Our little Navy smacked the snot of those British on numerous occasions.
– Adams was a strongly principled man and did what was right. I wish we had current leaders like that.
– FYI, the current mudslinging and attack ads of the current presidential elections were tame compared against the attacks made in the press in that age. Adams lost his second election for President to Thomas Jefferson mostly through the efforts of Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson didn’t help matters either by bankrolling various attacks artists.
– An oddity, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the same day. July 4th, exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Benjamin Franklin was known to be a volumous writer. Just the correspondance between John Adams and his wife exceeds all of Franklins’ writings.


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