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Thread: A Warning From 196 Years ago.

  1. #1
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    Default A Warning From 196 Years ago.

    .
    On this day in 1826– the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence – both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died at the ages of 83 and 90 respectively. Jefferson, our third president, is well known to most Americans. Adams, our second president, not so much.

    Adams was a dedicated diarist and regularly corresponded with many important contemporaries, including his wife and adviser Abigail Adams as well as his friend, and eventual bitter rival, Thomas Jefferson.

    An attorney and political activist prior to the Revolution, Adams was devoted to the right to counsel and presumption of innocence. He defied anti-British sentiment and successfully defended British soldiers against murder charges arising from the Boston Massacre. Adams was a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress and became a leader of the revolution. He assisted Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776. As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate a peace treaty with Great Britain and secured vital governmental loans. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, which influenced the United States constitution, as did his essay Thoughts on Government.

    Adams was elected to two terms as vice president under President George Washington and was elected as the United States' second president in 1796. He was the only president elected under the banner of the Federalist Party. During his single term, Adams encountered fierce criticism from the Jeffersonian Republicans and from some in his own Federalist Party, led by his rival Alexander Hamilton. Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts and built up the Army and Navy in the undeclared naval war (called the "Quasi-War") with France. During his term, he became the first president to reside in the executive mansion now known as the White House.

    In his bid for reelection, opposition from Federalists and accusations of despotism from Jeffersonians led to Adams losing to his vice president and former friend Jefferson, and he retired to his farm, Peacefield, in Quincy, Massachusetts. After their bitter political rivalry, Adams eventually resumed his friendship with Jefferson by initiating a correspondence that lasted fourteen years. It has been hailed as among their great legacies of American literature. Their letters represent an insight into both the period and the minds of the two revolutionary leaders and presidents.

    Adams and his wife generated a family of politicians, diplomats, and historians now referred to as the Adams political family, which includes their son John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States. Adams and his son are the only presidents of the first twelve that did not own slaves in their lives.

    In June of 1826 the town of Quincy invited its most famous citizen to formally attend its 50th celebration of our nation’s independence. This is the letter John Adams wrote to John Whitney in reply. I contains a warning applicable to our present circumstances that I have highlighted.


    Quincy June 7th: 1826


    Sir

    Your letter of the 3d Instant, written on behalf of the Committee of Arrangements, for the approaching celebration of our National Independence; inviting me to dine, on the fourth of July next, with the Citizens of Quincy, at the Town-Hall, has been received with the kindest emotions. The very respectful language with which the wishes of my Fellow Townsmen have been conveyed to me, by your Committee, and the terms of affectionate regard toward me, individually, demand my grateful thanks, which you will please to accept and to communicate to your Colleagues of the Committee.

    The present feeble State of my health will not permit me to indulge the hope of participating, with more than by my best wishes in the joys & festivities and the Solemn Services of that day; on which will be completed the fiftieth year from its birth, the Independence of these United States. A Memorable epoch in the annals of the human race; destined, in future history, to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be Shaped, by the human mind.

    I pray you Sir to tender in my behalf to our fellow Citizens my cordial thanks for their affectionate good wishes, and to be assured that I am / very truly and Affectionately / Your’s & their Friend & / Fellow-Townsman

    J Adams


    On July 4, 1826 Adams died at his farm, at approximately 6:20 pm. His last words included: "Thomas Jefferson survives." Adams was unaware that Jefferson had died five hours before. At the age of ninety, Adams was the longest-lived US president until Ronald Reagan surpassed him in 2001.
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    Last edited by Tom Montgomery; 07-04-2022 at 05:50 AM.
    "I'll tell you why [religion's] not a scam. In my opinion, all right? Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can't explain that."Bill O'Reilly

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A Warning From 196 Years ago.

    Yep. Our page has been darkening rapidly, no doubt.

    Tom
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: A Warning From 196 Years ago.

    They reconciled toward the end of their lives.

    Reading the Adams-Jefferson correspondence is enlightening, and is available in book form.
    Gerard>
    Albuquerque, NM

    Every Republican is an obstacle to progress.

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    Default Re: A Warning From 196 Years ago.

    A warning, or like 1984, for some, an instruction manual.

    Damn.

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    Default Re: A Warning From 196 Years ago.

    Ayup
    David G
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    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: A Warning From 196 Years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Montgomery View Post
    [/b]A Memorable epoch in the annals of the human race; destined, in future history, to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be Shaped, by the human mind.[/B]
    Yeah. This was the "value deeply rooted in the nation's history", expressed by an authority thereon, in contrast to the bull S spewed by Justice Alito in overturning Roe v Wade.

    Liberty.
    I'm not leaving.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: A Warning From 196 Years ago.

    .
    Heather Cox Richardson
    Jul 4

    And on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

    For all the fact that the congressmen got around the sticky little problem of Black and Indigenous slavery by defining “men” as “white men,” and for all that it never crossed their minds that women might also have rights, the Declaration of Independence was an astonishingly radical document. In a world that had been dominated by a small class of rich men for so long that most people simply accepted that they should be forever tied to their status at birth, a group of upstart legislators on the edges of a continent declared that no man was born better than any other.

    America was founded on the radical idea that all men are created equal.

    What the founders declared self-evident was not so clear eighty-seven years later, when southern white men went to war to reshape America into a nation in which African Americans, Indigenous Americans, Chinese, and Irish were locked into a lower status than whites. In that era, equality had become a “proposition,” rather than “self-evident.”

    “Four score and seven years ago,” Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans, “our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In 1863, Lincoln explained, the Civil War was “testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

    It did, of course. The Confederate rebellion failed. The United States endured, and Americans began to expand the idea that all men are created equal to include Black men, men of color, and eventually to include women.

    But just as in the 1850s, we are now, once again, facing a rebellion against our founding principle, as a few people seek to reshape America into a nation in which certain people are better than others.

    The men who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 pledged their “Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor” to defend the idea of human equality. Ever since then, Americans have sacrificed their own fortunes, honor, and even their lives, for that principle. Lincoln reminded Civil War Americans of those sacrifices when he urged the people of his era to “take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

    Words to live by in 2022.



    Note:

    I have shared some version of this every year for the last few years. I wrote this quickly— actually running out the door— a few years ago, and no matter how long I sit at the laptop and fiddle, as I did this evening, I still think the original stands. It is a dark Independence Day in many ways this year, but I hope everyone is able to find at least a little respite, and to recall the whole point of what we’re up to in this country.
    .
    "I'll tell you why [religion's] not a scam. In my opinion, all right? Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can't explain that."Bill O'Reilly

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