John Adams: Holding Fast Unmovable

Submitted by Lucy Anne on Wed, 12/04/2013 - 21:57

Notes: One of the most difficult essays for me to write since this summer. And what I have been working on for two months, practically every day. I don't expect it to be very good (but I learned SO much about John Adams, oh my - I will NEVER forget who the second President of the US is. Never.) and I don't expect much people to comment, but that's okay. I know there are faults to this, comment if you would like to make my day. :) God bless you all, each one of you! -Megan

P.S. This is my first try in HTML footnotes.

Early into John Adams’ childhood, he was described as “unusually sensitive to criticism but also quickly responsible to praise.” 1 When he grew older, and became the second President of United States, it was the same. Yet although his political decisions and character were much criticized, he clung to his convictions. And if you dig deeper into his life, you will find a man of strong conviction, sharp intelligence, sacrificial duty, and unwavering goals. For once he knew what he stood for, he defended and upheld his convictions—no matter the cost.

In the beginning of Adam’s career in which he was a lawyer, one of the cases he took revealed his spirit of integrity. On March 5, 1770, a crowd of Boston citizens began flinging snow balls, hunks of ice, jagged oyster shells, and heavy clubs at the British in mockery. Suddenly, the soldiers fired. By dawn, five men died. A fair trial was scheduled a few months away, in October. However, no one desired the British soldiers in court. Finally, John Adams was asked to defend the British. Although he knew that anyone prejudiced against him could hurt his family for his stance, his conscience did not permit him to do otherwise. He agreed. Not only did he make the right decision, he later said the case was one of the most exhaustive he ever took, but “one of the best services I ever rendered my country.” 2

Marrying his wife, Abigail, was the best decision of his life. Her advice directed, supported, and aided him. For fourteen years, he served in France as a diplomat, along with Benjamin Franklin. Those years were difficult. Franklin and Adams had conflicting opinions of the best way to obtain French support for the American Revolution. Also, the French customs were foreign to Adams, and his wife and children loved more than three thousand miles away. Still, Abigail wrote him letters. When he was disheartened, Abigail revived his spirits. Her letters updated him of the events occurring in Boston. She shared his daily trials raising their children, and her opinions on the current politics. She managed the farm, the expenses, and trained their five children. She kept him going through the most difficult times. And encouraged him to not let anything---not even others’ conflicting opinions discourage him from achieving his goal. He relied on her advice, even boasting to other members of the Congress of how her letters told more than if from a "whole committee of gentlemen". How blessed John was to have a wife that supported him! In one of his letters, in appreciation, he affirmed her, “I can do nothing without you.” 3

Even though Adams loved his family, duty still came first. He believed he was responsible in serving America in Europe. During his Presidency, the French started seizing America’s ships. John Adams commissioned his diplomats, trying to forge a peace treaty with France, but when the diplomats arrived, France demanded bribes instead. Word leaked out, and the Americans felt the snub and desired war. They began preparing the Navy, but John Adams did not yet ask Congress for the Declaration of War. Ultimately, John Adams was convinced that war with young, fragile America would be suicide. Because of his decisions, Adams became unpopular. The relationship with his Vice President Thomas Jefferson strained, and his own cabinet began to side with Jefferson. But nothing could sway Adam’s conviction. He humbled any pride he might have had and asked France for the second time for a peace treaty. By now, they feared America would declare war on them. So they accepted the treaty. What would have happened if John Adams did not persevere? He kept pursuing his goal, and although greatly criticized, he clung to his determination that America would not declare war. John Adams did not allow anything-- whether it was being unpopular, criticized, or hated, stop him from sticking to his convictions. And as a result, he kept America from an unnecessary war with France.

When we glimpse closely at Adam’s personality, we grasp his huge sacrifice to his country, his convictions to keep America out of war, and his supportive wife Abigail. This is what the public opinion missed when they critiqued his life. Adams was a man who let nothing dissolve his conviction. In the end, these three aspects of his life were his anchor that helped him stick to his beliefs. He said, “Thanks to God that He gave me stubbornness when I know I am right.” 4 Let us hope that, by the grace of God, once we discern what is right and what is wrong, we too would be able to take our stand, letting nothing crush the rock of our convictions.

1. John Adams, David McCullough pg. 33

2. John Adams, David McCullough pg. 68

3. John Adams by David McCullough pg. 479


Author's age when written


Adams was definitely a man of convictions. I greatly respect hi for taking the British case; and he endured quite a bit when in France. Great essay. Just one question, did you have a limit to the size?

Just a side note: If I had to choose a favorite president, it would probably be John Adams.

"My greatest wish for my writing is that it would point you to the Savior."

Thank you!! Yes, I only had five paragraphs. And totally - I agree that probably the best president is John Adams.

Probably even better than Jefferson. The thing about Jefferson was - he was popular. And the things he supported in His presidency were what he was against with when he was Adam's Vice President!

John Adams had so much character! Of course, he made a mistake in signing the Alien and Sedition Acts, but he stuck to his convictions even after Jefferson turned away from him and all that. Did you ever watch the HBO's TV series of John Adams? That, and my Tapestry of Grace, and the book of John Adams written by David McCullough were my main resources. There were about six or seven hours of the DVDS, and we watched one each night. I think the 1st and 2nd episodes are about the best ones out of the rest - the rest felt like it dragged a bit. Also, I was quite upset when only seventy percent of the series were accurate. I would just say that the 1st and 2nd episodes are worth watching.

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think you did a good job on this, Megan. I always enjoy reading essays on American presidents/history, it is very interesting.

"Marrying his wife, Abigail, was the best decision of his life." I liked that paragraph. I think Abigail is a great role model, she was so dedicated.
Keep writing, Megan!

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

First of all, this is really really good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But I waited to comment until I had more time to note a few things:

First paragraph:
You say "Early into John Adam's childhood" - I don't know what's proper, but "in" feels less awkward to me.
You start the last sentence with "for" - I personally wouldn't put that there, it feels like it should be continuing the previous sentence and not starting a new sentence.

Second paragraph:
The first sentence is confusing because of the "in which." I think "as" works better - "early into his career as a lawyer."

I'm guessing the British soldiers fired? That's not clear.

You also wrote "no one desired the British soldiers in court." Do you mean desired to represent?

Third paragraph:
You said his wife and children "loved" three thousand miles away, but I think that was just a typo.

"his daily trials raising their children" Do you mean she shared his trials by being alone raising their children, or did you mean that she shared HER trials raising their children in her letters to him?

"She encouraged him... And" - should be one sentence.

Fourth paragraph:
Again, I don't know what's proper, but you wrote "responsible in," but we usually say "responsible to."
I would keep "so they accepted the treaty" in the same sentence as "by now..."

"John Adams did not allow anything-- whether it was being unpopular, criticized, or hated, stop him from sticking to his convictions." Instead of a comma between hated and stop, it should be a hyphen.
I also think the next sentence shouldn't start with "and," but just be "As a result..."

Fifth paragraph:
"glimpse" and "closely" don't really go together.
I would also keep the sentences in the conclusion in the same order that the paragraphs were: sacrifice, wife, conviction.

Just little, little things, Megan! This was really wonderful!

Thank you, Kyleigh! Your advice on second paragraph - yes, I had trouble with that. I don't know how I made that personal pronoun mistake in the 3rd paragraph...In the last paragraph, I should have phrased the topics in order, but was too lazy to change because then I was in a rush. I think that the soldiers firing is clear. I was corrected about that before in an earlier draft, and I thought I fixed it by adding the sentence saying, "So the soldiers fired."

Thank you!

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

As you know, I'm not very good at constructive I can't give you that :P Anyways, I really liked this! I've never read about Adams before...he certainly was a man of character!

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths

Go to my blog and follow it:
:) for my sake, follow

You're welcome :) I've actually read everything you've written, but sometimes I don't get a chance to comment at the time. I really liked your essay about growing up! It was very encouraging for me.
The other night, we visited a church dad had grown up in. I took Faith to the nursery and stayed with her. One of the nursery workers told me that my daughter looks a lot like me! I was like "*awkward laugh* she's my sister!" LOL!
Oh yes, and once in Iowa, we started going to a church and William and Laura like to sit by each they met this lady, and then she turned to someone else and said, "This is William and his wife Laura" or something like that! And they were both like o.O ... :P

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths

Go to my blog and follow it:
:) for my sake, follow

I know you read, and I am glad you do! :)

And when you say, "Uh..." and you clear your throat and try to stay serious "she's my sister..." and they gasp and apologize profusely and you think well, thank you very much that's awkward, but actually a huge compliment.

About Laura and William - HAHAHAHAHA!

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Haha...Yes, it is a compliment :D

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths

Go to my blog and follow it:
:) for my sake, follow

My folks have a book on John Adams. Perhaps it's the one by David McCullough; I'll have to check. Reading your essay makes me want to pick up the book and discover more. Thanks for writing!

"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle