Men Of The Revolution: 14. John Hancock

When one of the wealthiest men in the Colonies sided with the Patriot cause, he was called a “wretched and plundered tool of the Boston rebels.”

His name led all the rest. On the document proclaiming America’s independence it is inscribed boldly with flourishes, the mark of a confident, proud man; and the fact that it was written an inch longer than he customarily signed it gave rise to the legend that John Hancock had recorded his name large enough for George in to read without spectacles. Read more »

The Cantankerous Mr. Maclay

William Maclay, elected by the Pennsylvania Legislature to the Senate of the United States, left his farm near Harrisburg early in March, 1789, and journeyed to New York to attend the first session of the First Congress. He took board and lodging for two dollars a week at a Mr. Vandolsom’s near the Bear Market, and for the next month he waited for the two houses to form a quorum, meeting informally each morning with other members at Federal Hall on Wall Street.Read more »

The Ordeal Of Thomas Hutchinson

BETWEEN KING AND COUNTRY

The paradoxical and find tragic story of America’s most prominent Loyalist—a man caught between king and country— is the subject of a new book by Professor Bernard Bailyn of Harvard, who won both the Pulitizer and Bankcroft awards in 1868 for an earlier work on the American Revulotion. The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinsion has just been published by Harvard University Press. Our article is made up of excerpts from the first two chapters subtle and fascinating study. Read more »

The Spies Who Went Out In The Cold

In late February, 1775, three men in what they thought was Yankee farmers’ dress, “brown cloaths and reddish handkerchiefs round our necks,” boarded the ferry at the foot of Prince Street in Boston, bound for Charlestown, a half mile across the Charles River.Read more »

A Mere Woman

A shy Yankee named Hannah Adams never thought of herself as liberated, but she was our first professional female writer.

If they should care to, the leaders of Women’s Liberation may add Miss Hannah Adams, born in 1755, to their roster of distinguished women. She was probably the first native American woman to earn a living as a professional writer. Read more »

Business Of The Highest Magnitude

OR DON’T PUT OFF UNTIL TOMORROW WHAT YOU CAN RAM THROUGH TODAY

Dr. Benjamin Rush believed the hand of God must have been involved in the noble work. John Adams, writing from Grosvenor Square, London, called it the greatest single effort of national deliberation, and perhaps the greatest exertion of human understanding, the world had ever seen.Read more »

The Death Of A Hero

Mortally ill as his century dwindled to its close, Washington was helped to his grave by physicians who clung to typical eighteenth-century remedies. But he died as nobly as he had lived

The man who had been most jealous of George Washington for the longest time was John Adams. Adams was like the fisherman who had let the genie out of a bottle and not been able to get him back in again. He was convinced that he had created Washington in 1775 when, in his desire to get the South to join with New England against the British army, he had suggested that the Virginia colonel be made Commander in Chief. No sooner had Washington been elected than envy began.

 
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How to Get Elected

The American system of choosing a President has not worked out badly, far as it may be from the Founding Fathers’ vision of a natural aristocracy

“Elections, my dear Sir,” wrote John Adams to Thomas Jefferson after perusing a copy of the new Constitution, “Elections to offices which are great objects of Ambition, I look at with terror.” One can imagine the shudder with which both men, could they stand amid the bustle of a modern presidential campaign, would regard that quadrennial “carnival of buncombe.”

Marbury V. Madison -The Case of the “Missing” Commissions

It was the evening of March 3, 1801, his last day in office, and President John Adams was in a black and bitter mood. Assailed by his enemies, betrayed by some of his most trusted friends, he and his Federalist party had gone down to defeat the previous November before the forces of Thomas Jefferson. His world seemed to have crumbled about his doughty shoulders.