When John Adams set out with his little son on a perilous voyage early in 1778, he was full of misgivings. He had every right to be worried, but the journey turned out to be the adventure of his life—and a revelation of his essential character.
JOHN ADAMS REACHED HIS HOME IN BRAINTREE, MASSA- chusetts, by horseback in the last days of November 1777 and for two weeks did little but relish the comforts of his own fireside. He was home to stay, by preference and of necessity, he said: “It was my intention to decline the next election, and return to my practise at the bar. I had been four years in Congress, left my accounts in a very loose condition. My debtors were failing, the paper money was depreciating. I was daily losing the fruits of seventeen years’ industry.Read more »
During the first contested presidential election in American history, the voters were asked to choose between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. In this millennial year, voters will choose between George W. Bush and Al Gore. At first blush, the caustic observation of Henry Adams appears indisputable: The American Presidency stands as a glaring exception to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolutionary progress.
ONCE AGAIN the candidates gear up for a national election; not only the candidates but their wives too. And pity the ladies! Their husbands run against different opponents; they, for nearly forty years, have had to measure up to one woman—Eleanor Roosevelt. Read more »
Could I have died a martyr in the cause, and thus ensured its success, I could have blessed the faggot and hugged the stake.” The cause was state support for female education, the would-be Saint Joan was Emma Willard, and the rhetorical standards of the 1820’s were lofty and impassioned. The most militant feminists rarely scale such heights today. For one thing, dogged effort has finally reduced the supply of grand injustices; and today’s preference for less florid metaphor has deprived the movement of such dramatic images.Read more »
In Philadelphia, just five days before the Virginia delegates to the Continental Congress moved a momentous resolution of independence, John Adams sat writing a letter to Mrs. Adams in Braintree, Massachusetts. The day before, he told her, it being the first day of June, he had dined with a friend. “We had Cherries, Strawberries, and green Peas in Plenty. I believe the Fruits are three Weeks earlier here than with you—indeed they are a fortnight earlier on the East, than on the West side of Delaware River.