John Adams on the Purpose of Government

25일 전

John Adams, who has become “virtually an asterisk in history books today,” in one writer’s words, is inadequately celebrated. We should remember Adam's advocacy of the rights, or property, that is the content of our liberty and whose defense is the central reason our government was instituted.

Source: John Adams on the Purpose of Government - Foundation for Economic Education

It's hard for me to imagine John Adams being considered an "asterisk" in history today. He was one of the relative few people who can be considered a founder of this country and the second president.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were practically enemies for a time and bitter contestants in the first contested election for president. Later, they became great friends and corresponded until their deaths, on the same day, July 4th, 1826.

If you are interested in John Adams or history at all, I highly recommend David McCullough's "John Adams" and its companion book "1776". These read more like novels than histories or biographies and are still favorites of mine in those categories.

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He's also the scoundrel behind the Alien and Sedition Acts.

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Well, to be fair, he also likely saved the country by preventing war with France. And he later regretted his role in the Alien and Sedition Acts (he was not the author though he signed it into law). In the context of the day, he was trying to fight a "fake news" epidemic far worse than anything we have today along with fear of a war with France and revolutionary violence similar to the French Revolution (and no, none of those things justify it). However, saying he's the scoundrel behind it is a bit like saying George Washington or Thomas Jefferson were those scoundrels that owned slaves. All true but it doesn't diminish what they did to establish and progress the ideas of freedom and liberty or their role in founding this country.