John Adams Research Paper
John Adams Research Paper
The paper is about the correspondence between John Adams (1735-1826) and her wife Abigail Smith (1744-1818) who shared eleven hundred letters with each other talking about different aspects of life. They are considered as one of the remarkable couples in American politics and their letters cover topics including courtship, family, marriages, the political career of John and about revolution. John Adams was an American politician, writer, attorney diplomat and also served as the 2nd president of the United States. Before becoming president of the country, he was one of the leaders of the American Revolution and became vice president of the United States after getting independence from Great Britain. The sharing of letters between the two started during his courtship in 1762 and continue towards the end of John’s political career in 1801, the last year of his presidency. These letters are enriched with wisdom, affection, trust in each other and information about political activities (Gelles). In this paper, we will cover a detailed analysis of the content of letters for the period of September and October 1774. Chronologically, this is a comparatively shorter period of time but the correspondence between the two consists of great historical importance.
Generally, Abigail Smith would inform John about her health and domestic activities and also about the situation of the city during the revolution. Adams would enquire about the situation of the household and also information about his political and social activities in general but they also used to talk about other issues that are specific to a husband and wife. We start our analysis by considering the example of a letter Adams wrote to Abigail smith on 8 September 1774. The main theme of this letter is all about John explaining the reasons for not writing a letter for a very long time. He starts it by elaborating on the potential threat to the city of Boston from the bombardment and expressed how he and the inhabitants of the city are concerned about it. He states that he is so much busy fulfilling his responsibilities including meetings, ceremonies, and other official responsibilities because of which he does not find time to write a letter to you. He also informed about his status and role at the congress by assuring her that everything is in control nowadays in congress. At the end of the letter, he asks about the wellbeing of his friends and gives some pieces of advice for the kids. Abigail Smith responded to this latter after a week on September 14 and 16. She showed her concern regarding no correspondence between the two for a longer period of time and how she remained upset and distressed about it. Abigail would inform him about the condition of the town as she described in this letter that people are all much alarmed and the Governor is taking all the precautionary measures of safety. This was probably the lengthiest of the response letters from Abigail to her husband where she wrote about how joyful and full of ecstasy it was to receive his letter. Then she wrote a detailed story of how she met several people at the dinner and about all the conversations they had. This shows that they would talk about almost all the aspects of daily routine including asking about the know-how of their neighbors and also about the death of close friends and relatives.
Adams wrote another letter on the exact same date on 14 September 1774 and wrote about his rush routine. In this letter, he explained further why he does not find time to write often and how desperately he wants to visit home. He also mentioned the political situation of the state briefly that their province is applauded and praised universally and considered defenders and saviors of the American Liberty. At the end of the latter, he said his love and compliments for his kids, relatives, and friends. Just after two days on 16 September 1774, he wrote another letter he found time from political activities. In this letter, he mentioned the situation of religious activities inside congress. He said that there are people belonging to different churches and denominations which made it difficult for the members to gather at one place to say a prayer together. However, Mr. S. Adams stood up and said that he has no issue whatsoever with a virtuous gentleman saying prayer irrespective of the sect. All the members appreciated this notion that we should not abandon worship or prayer after our very specifics. After getting approval from the president, the morning prayers commenced in congress with Mr. Duche assigned this duty. Amazed by Mr. Duche’s prayer, Mr. Adam wrote her wife to look into Episcopalian books because of the way he pronounced the words and the sentence structure which was so sublime and elegant for the congress, for Boston, for Massachusetts, and for America. This shows that John Adams and his wife would write about almost every aspect of life. Religion was an important part of their lives which is obvious from Adam's concern about the need for morning prayer in congress. Also when he recommends Abigail the literature of other denominations that would make her love it showed that religions were always there in their lives.
In almost all the letters John Adam would give details of the political activities and would affair of the States with Abigail, his wife. This is something that men generally avoid and consider it against the norms in many cultures. In response to Abigail's letters, he wrote another letter on 18th September in which after describing the excitement of receiving her letters, he wrote about the proceedings of Congress. He explained how the votes were passed in congress and unanimity and the affection, the esteem for the people of Massachusetts and Boston was revived as a result. The couple would enquire about each other’s health and well being in every letter. In response to her letter in which she asked about Adams’s health, he wrote another latter the same day which starts from the reply about his health. Adams stated that despite extream heat and excessive eating, he is still in good health and spirits. On September 20, he wrote a very brief but amazing letter to Abigail talking about the importance of rising against the tyrants and not accepting any humiliating offer at the expense of freedom. He said that even if you have to eat potatoes and drink water and have to wear undressed skin of sheep or canvas then do so rather than submitting to the ignominious and unrighteous denomination which is specifically prepared for you. On September 22, 1774, Abigail wrote to Adams informing him about the condition of the city after she has returned from a visit to her brother. She expressed deep sorrow and remorse on the condition of the city and compare it with the news of a friend’s death. This was the time when freedom movement against the British was on full swing and the freedom fighters were carry out their activities in Boston, Mississippi, and Massachusetts. The historical siege of Boston was the result of such activities which ultimately forced the British to retreat. Abigail would write about day to day situation of the movement and clashes between freedom fighters and army and send letters to inform him about the whole scenario. This letter also included the detail of coercive warnings and ultimatum for all above 15 and under 60 to join forces. Adams wrote another letter on 25th of the September to his wife and expressed how dear it is for him to write to her despite tedious business and tiring activities. Adam would generally write precise but frequent letters. In this letter he explained how he feels about the meetings in congress and describes it as “Fifty Gentlemen meeting together, all Strangers, are not acquainted with Each other's Language, Ideas, Views, Designs. They are therefore jealous, of each other-fearfull, timid, skittish (Adams)”. These kinds of sentimental and secret assertions between each other show how close they were to each other and the level of understanding among themselves.
John Adams was very concerned about the moral education of his people and learning about human nature to understand the whole purpose of struggle and define and explore new paths of hope, peace, and prosperity. By examining the pieces of writing from the couple, we come to know that they would talk about this aspect too. For example Adams letter to Abigail on the 29th of September, he expressed deep sentiments for his people for being veterans of the great sufferings and tribulations. He said that forbearance patience and long-suffering are the lessons taught here in our province and an open resilience against the new government. He also talked about what type of government we will establish in America after the British exit. There are many specimens in place from the examples of other European countries and dynasties including electing a pope, or the royal system in Britain and making a choice of an emperor through elections. In a letter on 7th October 1774, John Adams shared the details of his tiring and busy day to tell her why he cannot write oftener to her. These include assessing and analyzing the views of 50 gentlemen who are totally stranger about trade study, policies and the interests of almost a dozen provinces. He has to read a number of new papers, pamphlets, and private letters and has to deal with countless arguments and plans of the policies. Apart from all this busy schedule, he also has to make visits to different provinces and attend ceremonies which cannot be avoided and he hates this. John Adam was very concerned about his relationship with other family members, close relatives, neighbors, and friends. He gave an authority as a general license to his wife Abigail Smith to write letters to them on his behalf as he does not find time to do so. Also, he advised the correspondents to send all the letters from them on time. He expressed his enthusiasm and political passion for the rise of Congress and wrote that he cannot come home despite his desire until Congress begins to rise. John is not sure when it will rise but until then, he will continue to struggle for the progress and betterment of his people. At the end of this long letter, he shared some details of the elections held last week as Mr. Dickenson was elected almost unanimously as the representative of their county.
John Adams was born in a family of puritans, who have a great influence on the culture, heritage, traditions, and law of the region. Puritans strongly believe in the idea of predestination and John Adams was attracted and influenced by this concept a great deal. Although, other people of the same belief started becoming moderated and giving up their severe and strict beliefs Adams still considered those ideas and believes a true representation and bearers of freedom. Adams also discussed these ideas with his wife during his regular correspondence and considered Puritan Massachusetts as an exemplary place for propagating freedom and awareness about rights of liberation. This has to do with the belief system of Puritan which has a considerable influence on the people of this region. He writes in one of his letters on &th October 1774 “I cannot say. And indeed I cannot say but We are better here than anywhere. We have fine Opportunities here to serve Boston and Massachusetts, by acquainting the whole Continent with the true State of them. Our Residence here greatly serves the Cause (Adams)”.
On 9th October 1774, Adams wrote to Abigail and entails the happenings and events in a rather lengthy letter. One important thing to notice in the essay is his attraction and devotion to religion. He narrated the event at Presbyterian meeting and how he was least interested in such a meeting and preferred to go to a church. He enjoyed a better prayer, better sermon, good speakers with soft and sweet music playing in the background. He regarded Episcopal church better than Presbyterian and the congregational way of worship better and more appealing than that of the independent. He wrote all these experiences to her wife which shows their interest and passion for the religion.
In conclusion, after reading the historical letters of John Adams to her wife Abigail Smith, it is observed that these letters are full of information of historical importance, discussion about strategies of war, vies about the affairs of the States and also the future prospects of political changes in America. Apart from that these letters are filled with emotions, longing for each other, care, affection and an immense representation of love between the spouses.
Gelles, Edith B. "A Virtuous Affair: The Correspondence between Abigail Adams and James Lovell." American Quarterly 39.2 (1987): 252-269.
Adams, John. "Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 25 September 1774." Massachusetts Historical Society. 1774.
Adams, John. "Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 7 October 1774." Massachusetts Historical Society. 1774.
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