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John Adams Essay

In David McCullough’s John Adams, Adams is described as a bold, righteous man whose character was undeniably the fire behind the American revolution. Adams played a key role throughout the entire beginning of colonial America and contributed to its independence immensely. The three most significant events in which Adams played a large role in American history was his pursuit in being a lawyer and protecting the soldiers in the Boston Massacre, his trip to France, and the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

These events were most prevalent out of the many things Adams contributed and personified Adams’ struggle and push for American independence. John Adams was a lawyer, scholar and political figure. A leading champion of independence Adams was a prominent lawyer and public figure and was highly educated. He was highly influential and one of the key founding fathers of the United States. In the early stages of his life and importance for the American cause, Adams had at first made what many call a mistake. However, Adams backed and protected the soldiers who were involved in the 1770 Boston Massacre.

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This act of justice reflected Adams’ fierce integrity. His part in this political drama only increased his public standing and in the long run made him more respected than ever. This act of firm belief established the fairness and principle in Adams’ mind that “no man in a free country should be denied the right to counsel and a fair trial… ” (66). This mindset from the beginning had transfered and this basis later became the roots for American independence. Adams had taken on many trials, often taking the risky side, but had always stood behind his firm beliefs.

Adams always wanted to ensure that the innocent were protected and even though he disagreed with British policies, he wanted to ensure the British soldiers got a fair trial. Moreover, this act of courage only solidified his honesty and loyalty. It proved to the public that he would stand up for what he believed in. That message would later become confirmed and the outlook of these cases created what would be the flashpoint in Adams’ life. Continuing on his path for independence, Adams’ next significant events were his trips to France.

He was at first apprehensive “but with his overriding sense of duty, his need to serve, his ambition, and as a patriot fiercely committed to the fight for independence he would not have done otherwise” (179). Accompanied, on both occasions, by his eldest son, John Quincy Adams sailed for France aboard the Boston in 1778. Adams went on a treacherous trip sailing through many storms but was determined. Adams was also entering unusual territory for he did not speak French. His first trip was largely unproductive and Adams returned only to be called back for a second time in 1779.

On the second trip, Adams secured the recognition of the United States as an independent government through his Dutch connections. During this visit, he also negotiated a loan by the Dutch and he negotiated with the Dutch a treaty of amity and commerce. During the second trip he helped create the Treaty of Paris with Benjamin Franklin and John Jay which ended the American Revolution. Adams’ trips to France proved his heart and dedication for his cause. It showcased his strength in politics and the ambition towards independence.

Lastly, Adams was a part of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence which was a beacon of his hard work and dedication. John Adams was an important figure in both the First and Second Continental Congresses in 1774 and 1775. He had also been an important opponent of British policies before the American Revolution arguing against the Stamp Act and other actions. He was chosen to be part of the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence, and although he deferred to Thomas Jefferson to write the first draft Adams was a major leader and has been the roots of the movement.

His actions in the creation of the Declaration of Independence in essence had described his character and his devotion. From beginning to end Adams stood up for what he believed in and his principles carried true throughout his life. “So, it was done, the break was made, in words at least: on July 2, 1776, in Philadelphia, the American colonies declared independence. If not all thirteen clocks had struck once, twelve had, and with the other silent, the effect was the same. It was John Adams, more than anyone, who made it happen” (129).


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