Today's Politicos vs The Words and Deeds of The Founders
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An Unpleasant Description of a President

Thomas Jefferson referred to his opponent, John Adams as a,

… hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.

Adams was none of these things as any one who has read history knows.

On board the frigate Boston, en route to France, Adams showed his character.

It was a terrible trip. Almost everything that could go wrong went wrong. What is so important about this voyage-which has, to my mind, been sadly neglected by historians and biographers-is that later, Adams told Thomas Jefferson that it was a metaphor for his whole life.

Among the things it revealed was that Adams loved action. He loved leadership. He was very distraught when they had days of good sailing, which bored him tremendously. He started wishing that they might take captive of a British ship, which might possibly have a London newspaper on it that he could read.

They were hit by a storm that blew them more than 200 miles off course, hit by lightning, which struck very near to where the powder was stored, split the mainmast, killed one man on board and injured about 20 more. They also had a run-in with the British merchantman, the Martha. Adams was ordered to go below, by Captain [Samuel] Tucker. In the midst of shot flying everywhere-some of it hitting the ship, some of it hitting the mast not far above the heads of everybody ­- Captain Tucker saw Congressman Adams standing there with a rifle, accoutered, as Tucker later said, “as one of my Marines.” Tucker later testified before a Navy board, in no uncertain terms, about the valor, the courage of John Adams.

The voyage, I think, also prepared Adams for the realities of war. One young naval officer was severely injured when a cannon exploded in a test operation. Adams and the captain held this young man in their arms, while a French surgeon on board amputated the leg in the very crude fashion of the day. ….  David McCullough

Adams had his faults, but not being manly wasn’t one of them.

john-adams - added for David Gill




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1 David J Gill { 02.21.15 at 9:24 am }

Some photos of President Obama have mistakenly been added to this page. Doesn’t John Adams deserve a few images to illustrate this otherwise admirable tribute to him?


Martin Reply:

Hmm. I don’t know how that happened. As Adams predated photography, there are no photos of him being manly. But, I’ll add one of Paul Giamatti portraying him.


2 David J Gill { 02.21.15 at 7:05 pm }

Like Washington and Jefferson he wanted his image recorded for posterity and sat for numerous portraits. I’ve discovered that by searching “John Adams” and selecting IMAGES a large number of images are immediately available. Technology!

But some action shots of Paul Giamatti in the role might be more interesting.



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