One of the things I enjoy most in life is reading – one of the genres that I am focusing on is US History – specifically the period from the time settlers came across the ocean to the “New World” through the war of 1812… so right now, I’m reading John Adams – & am learning quite a bit about the self-sacrifice that Adams, along with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, & myriad others chose in order to see a loose band of states become a United & unified country.
A highlight has been reading the correspondence that took place between Adams & his wife, Abigail; I love to hear (ok, read) the perspective of individuals in the beginning stages of leaving behind the government of England for the hope of something better. Especially interesting is the wide-spread discontent in the months leading up to the Declaration of Independence, expressed in articles such as Common Sense by Thomas Paine.
Adams notes that while Paine was able to rally people by identifying the discontent with England & the monarchy, he (Adams) was concerned because Paine (& others) seemed to have a ‘better hand at pulling down than building” up. Meaning, its a lot easier to criticize, undermine, & foment rebellion (pull down) than it is to be a part of building something once the ‘tyrants’ have been removed. It’s a point he revisits over & over & over throughout the book – & its especially poignant after the Declaration has been signed, & the newly formed USA is attempting to garner recognition, support, & trade partners…
Lots of food for thought… & insight into the character of humanity…
GASP! I am reading John Adams TOO! I am listening on tape in my car, but I enjoy history so very much. This story is interesting to me and I love how he loves his wife.
I’ve always loved U.S. History. The best part is visiting all of the different places and learning about their significance. I can remember going to Gettysburg and being out in the field where the battle took place. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Oh, and now I have the song from School House Rock in my head that goes to the preamble to the Constitution…We the people, in order to form a more perfect union….good times :)
shontell… one of the conundrums I struggle with is how could Adams (& society in general) have regularly lived apart from their spouse & kids for months, & even years at a time… often leaving the kids in the care of an acquaintance to care for them, make sure they’re loved, raised, educated… just trying to figure out the value & priorities looking from the outside, 200+ years later.
Hill-yes. I was singing along with you. What is most interesting to me about the US History is the conflict between the colonies/states in their interests that go back to the very beginning, & weren’t just about slavery. The influence of the French Revolution & the anti-monarchists (the Jacobins) can’t be minimized either. Thanks for posting.
Destro- very nice. I can’t wait to see it. Maybe we could turn it into a 7 part Historical Small Group where we dress up in leggings, powdered wigs, & listen to a guy playing a harpsicord?