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“Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” As one of the founding fathers, John Adams played a very important role in the journey to America’s freedom and its initial start as a country. As the second president, many expected big things from the Massachusetts native, though he would come to disagree and avoid confrontation from the majority of his political colleagues. Adams had a chance to do many great things for this country and had many brilliant ideas that could’ve boosted his approval rating, but because of his cowardice and arrogance many did not feel that he was a good fit for reelection.
Born in the town of Braintree (Quincy), Massachusetts, Adams was raised in a comfortable, Christian home. His father was a deacon in the Congregational Church as well as a shoemaker and a farmer. John enjoyed being outdoors and found himself skipping school on a regular basis to go fishing or hunting. When he was in attendance at school, he excelled in his studies and was accepted at Harvard at just fifteen years old. A very young achiever, Adams taught in Worcester, Massachusetts, in a Latin school in order to earn money for his law school tuition. His very determined and driven attitude would help him become a successful lawyer and politician, but as he progressed into his presidency, he became more conceited and selfish, not caring as much what anyone thinks. While his arrogance was substandard quality to have, Adams used it to his advantage despite the hatred that it brought him. During the premature stages of the American Revolution, John Adams found himself trapped in an uncomfortable situation. The British Soldiers responsible for the Boston Massacre were facing a trial and no lawyer in New England would represent them. He had a choice of going against his colonial neighbors and representing these soldiers or he could go against his belief of a fair trial for all human beings. John Adams’ cousin and fellow founding father, Samuel Adams had strongly advised against working for the soldiers. Stating that it could potentially ruin his career and make every man in the American Colonies despise him. The trial was an insane stunt by Adams, but in the end, it gained him a larger following due to his belief that everyone deserves a fair trial.
John Adams thought very highly of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, stating that he never thought he would be recognized the way that they had been. Washington and Franklin, two of America’s largest contributors to this nation’s freedom couldn’t have done it without men such as John Adams. A lawyer, diplomat, president, and critical member of the Continental Congress, Adams gave insight and strategy for the fate of the country. As a federalist, he was closer with Washington than most during Washington’s presidency, gaining much political leverage over his future presidential candidates. Stated by Ferling (1994) “Adams dispatched intelligence to Congress, reporting on English morale, Great Britain’s diplomatic isolation in Europe, the state of the French Economy, and Versailles’ attachment to the American cause. He assessed Frwnch and British naval strength, correctly advised that Spain soon would enter the war against Britain, accurately informed Congress that America had little chance of obtaining loans elsewhere in Europe…” Adams had a very close relationship with his French allies, and this union allowed for help against the British in the Revolutionary War. Due to his stellar diplomatic skills and relations, Adams secured a bond between the American colonists and the French government, enhancing the probability of American dominance. This same skill allowed Adams to keep the British off of America soil during his presidency, that would come later after his presidency and be known as the War of 1812.
Historians view John Adams as a neurotic, unsure, and anxious person. Stating that he stood very strong in the foundation of his own opinions and beliefs. He did not like to go against his own word especially if it meant admitting he was wrong. Some say that he was very transparent in the way that he conducted himself, in the sense that if he didn’t like what you had to say or if it contradicted what he believed, he would shut you down. Historian Richard D. Brown (2002) stated that Adams’ whole life, he had been searching for fame and glory. Despite prideful mentality, he found himself at a low point, stating that he would never be idolized the way that Washington and Franklin were for their efforts in the American Revolution. What may seem like a humble statement was truly a statement of disappointment for not having been the best to come. Although many believe he was looking out for the country’s best interest, he was truly a selfish, arrogant politician. Adam’s could not get along with many of his colleagues and truly believed in his mind that he was better than them. He is a very interesting person in our history to study and research, but in the end, corrupted our political upbringing. Adams set a precedent that many would follow that the president shouldn’t always have to listen to his advisors, but that he should do what he believes is right. Adams did many great things for our country and brought us into a place of freedom and new beginnings, but he does not accurately display the qualities of a true American President.
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