Photo of John Adams

I was moved by the Adams biography. Having seen the mini-series last year, I enjoyed the re-tread of his life and the greater detail. I thought he was a fascinating man, and his stamp on the country rather large.

He nominated George Washington to lead the army (apparently Hancock wanted it); he wrote the Massachusetts constitution, in many ways a preliminary document for our own; he negotiated and won a loan from the Dutch at an incredibly important time to keep the revolution afloat; then negotiated peace with the British; he kept us out of a war with France despite the popular support for it (McCullough notes here that had we declared war, Napoleon almost certainly would not have sold us the Louisiana Purchase. So in addition to avoid a war we almost certainly would have lost, we were set up to more the double the size of the nation).

Certainly not a perfect man or politician, I came to really respect him and Abigail alike.

I do want to quote a letter to John Quincy that I thought was a call to arms for anyone who wants to see change in a participatory republic like ours: “Public business, my son, must always be done by somebody … If wise men decline it, others will not; if honest men refuse it, others will not.”

Well said. He had many great zingers, too, but I’ll let this one stand.

A very good book.