Intimate Enemies

When John Adams was elected President, and Thomas Jefferson Vice President, each came to see the other as a traitor. Out of their enmity grew our modern political system.

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.

 
Read more »

How To Be First Lady

The ground rules have changed drastically since 1789. Abigail Adams, stifled in her time, would have loved being First Lady today.

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 »

“Whatever You Write, Preserve”

All that the Adamses saw they were schooled to put down and save. The result is a collection of historical records beyond price and without peer.

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.

 

Read more »