History of the 4th of July: John Adams

Committee of Five

He was on the Committee of Five and was at the age of 40 more senior than the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson, but realized that Jefferson was the more eloquent writer.

Committee of Five

Friendship

Adams and Jefferson had first met at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1775 and developed a strong mutual respect and formed a close friendship. In 1784 Jefferson joined Adams in France on diplomatic service for the new Nation. Adams did most of his work in England (and Holland) while Jefferson stayed in Paris, but they met up in London after Jefferson had finished some diplomatic business. Afterward, they toured together visiting English gardens and Shakespeare’s home.

Perception

Religion and Government

Adams was a direct descendant of American Puritans and grew up in a New England Congregationalist church where his father was a deacon. When many Congregational churches turned toward Unitarianism, he turned with them. He was also fully exposed to the European Enlightenment while he was in France, assuring that he would become a free thinker. He was suspicious of priests “papistical (Roman Catholic) or Presbyterian” and declared fervently that it was not the case that only Calvinists would go to heaven.

Prescient?

Abigale Adams

A Republic

Like other Founding Fathers, he preferred a representative Republic to a democracy. He was skeptical of the rule of the masses:

Writer and technologist. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, and pop culture. billpetro.com @billpetro

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