Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Inspired by the Greats!

Inspired by the 4th of July, I decided to watch the HBO John Adams series again. It had been awhile since I viewed this wonderful account of Adams, his roll in the Revolution, his life over the span of 91 years. That's a very long life for that timeframe!

And one of the most poignant and incredible facts is that both he and Thomas Jefferson, his fellow patriot, political enemy, and reconciled friend, both died on the same day of the same year! July 4th, 1826!

As older men, they had shelved their disagreements in favor of a wonderful correspondence between Jefferson at his Monticello home, and Adams at his farm in Braintree. These letters are priceless, and give us a sense of these men as human, not cold, marble statues or static portrait paintings.

Many of the original letters can be seen in Washington DC at the Library of Congress and National Archives, but there are myriads of books that have published these treasures. I like the idea of reading them, and have found one book in particular that I think I will look for: The Complete Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Abigail Adams - The Adams Jefferson Letters, Edited by Lester J. Cappon.

They are two of the greatest figures of the American Revolution: one surly, stubborn, short and stout (Adams); the other elegant, entrancing and effectual.

They are the Ying and the Yang of the political spectrum of the times, one a proponent of a strong Federal government (Adams), though not the type of intrusive interference we are experiencing today from our federal government; the other (Jefferson) a true republican, an anti-federalist, a champion of state's rights. But the term "republican" is not the same as the Republican party of today. Jefferson believed in the revolutionary cause of the citizens of France or of any peoples seeking to self-govern. He is quoted as saying, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure." But, I particularly like his "whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government". Well-informed! The operative word here.

And here's a good one from Mr. Adams: "There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty." And another: "Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide"

Adams said that in 1814; if that isn't a prophetic warning! If they were here right now, they would probably say to us all, "Shame on you!" We are squandering our liberty; caving in to being "politically correct". That is an obnoxious, insiped term. We set no standards, everything is ok, as long as it's pleasing and immediate. God help us.

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