Skip to comments.John Adams on Independency
Posted on 07/04/2015 6:34:31 AM PDT by cotton1706
When it was first perceived, in early times, that no middle course for America remained between unlimited submission to a foreign legislature and total independence of its claims, men of reflection were less apprehensive of danger from the formidable power of fleets and armies they must determine to resist than from those contests and dissensions which would certainly arise concerning the forms of government to be instituted over the whole and over the parts of this extensive country.
Relying, however, on the purity of their intentions, the justice of their cause, and the integrity and intelligence of the people, under an overruling Providence which had so signally protected this country from the first, the representatives of this nation, then consisting of little more than half its present number, not only broke to pieces the chains which were forging and the rod of iron that was lifted up, but frankly cut asunder the ties which had bound them, and launched into an ocean of uncertainty.
For starters, he hated being the nation's first vice president, presiding over the Senate like an impatient schoolmaster and complaining to his wife, Abigail, that "my country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived."
While he initially admired George Washington -- personally pushing through the Continental Congress his nomination for commander in chief -- Adams bitterly seethed once he was in Washington's shadow. He portrayed Washington as a man who was all style, utterly lacking in substance. He once sarcastically listed Washington's talents, all of them involving his appearance, form and pedigree. "Here," he sneered, "you see I have made out 10 talents without saying a word about reading, thinking, or writing."
He also thought Washington was a poseur, pretending to prefer the simple life with the hope of hiding his unbounded ambition. Washington "ought to pass" as a genuinely disinterested hero, Adams noted, if only because he played the part so well. Even more than a decade after the death of the "Father of Our Country," Adams still fumed about the degree of Washington-worship in the land.
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