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History Essay on THOMAS JEFFERSON VS. JOHN ADAMS

THOMAS JEFFERSON VS. JOHN ADAMS

Introduction

Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are interesting men. During the revolution, both were founding fathers, they served as foreign diplomats for the young USA. Also, they both served under President Washington and became president1.

Jefferson and Adams come from varying parts of the colony with different skills and backgrounds. While politicking and fighting for a new country, they became friends. During that time, they developed different political ideals causing them to be political rivals to the most extreme extent. The political beliefs of each man became the basis for some of the most controversial events in the US and to date, they are still argued out2.

Jefferson, who attempts to remain firm in his beliefs embarks on decisions and actions resembling those of political rivals in the end leading to a lot of criticism. The reason Jefferson made the decision to adopt ideas that were more federalist remains a question that those in his own party sought an explanation for.

Whether Republican or Federalist, both men were fighting for a free country capable of protecting its citizens. They both had varying ideas regarding how to carry this out though they both begun together at the same place, Philadelphia where they transformed the young US with the imprint of their beliefs which to date are felt.

[1] Adams, John. John Adams: Revolutionary Writings 1775-1783 (library of America, No. 214) Library of America, 2011.

[1] Chernow, Ron. Washington: a Life. New York: Penguin Press HC, The, 2010.

Supporting Arguments

  1. John Adams
  1. Background as a farmer, lawyer, delegate , ambassador, VP

John Adams was the 2nd president of the USA and lived between 1735 and 1826, after serving earlier in the slot of first vice president to George Washington. As a founding father to the young US, John Adams was a leading advocate, strong political leader and a diplomat. He was also well educated and a political leader who was enlightened. He advocated for republicanism, strong central government and also wrote about his seminal beliefs and ideas efficiently. He rose to prominence during early America revolution stages. He was also a public figure, lawyer and delegate to continental congress where he played the major role of persuading congress to declare independence. He also took part in drafting of the 1776 independence declaration then later, became leading congress advocate. He also served as the diplomat to Europe where he aided in negotiation of the ultimate peace treaty with Great Britain. What is more, as an ambassador, he was responsible for obtaining government loans from Amsterdam banks.

Following the defeat of Adams by Jefferson Thomas in 1800, he retreated to live a private life in Massachusetts. He also begun farming at Peace Field, his home in the town of Quincy3.

[1] Rhodehamel, John H., ed. The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence. New York: Library of America, 2001.

  1. Philosophy in regards to law, government, foreign relations and independence

John Adams was the most influential and prominent leader in the Unites States of America history. He played a huge role towards development of a new found USA. He was looked upon as a revolutionary political philosopher and innovative social thinker. He had profound thoughts on government which he took to the center stage in influencing writing of new constitutions for the state. With conceptual structure of republicanism in America, the patriots believed strongly that it was the wicked and corrupt aristocrats who were liable for the assault of the British on American liberty. The philosophy of Adams was that the form or kind of government to be selected to meet the desired ends which constituted virtue and happiness for the largest number of people. With such a goal in mind, Adams was able to write about his thoughts on government. He also believed no good government existed except if it was republican. What is more, Adams believed the only thing that was valuable in the British constitution was the definition of a republican which as an empire of laws rather than that of men.

John Adams on his philosophy of government stated a good government is own with an empire of laws and that I that in any large society; he maintained it was not possible for the whole to assemble for purposes of making laws. His opinion was the first steps would depute power from majority to the few of the most good and wide5. Adams also maintained that every individual in society has the right to enjoy protection by the government to enjoy their own liberty, peace as well as owning property according to the standing laws. In relation to the law, John Adams was obligated into contributing towards the expense of protection of the people and where necessary, he gave his persona service. He also proclaimed that there is no part of property which belonging to an individual, through justice can be deprived from them or used for public purposes without his or her consent or that of the constitutional representation to that individual. Adams philosophy on law held people in the US were not under the control of other laws, except the laws which were part of the constitution given consent by the representatives. In addition, his thoughts on governments was that for most of governments, fear was the foundation yet it renders most men stupid and miserable and that the institutions of American could not be founded on the grounds of fear6. What is more, Adams reiterated the government was an institution for the common safety, happiness, prosperity, protection and good for the people and not for the profit, gain, private interests of honor of any class of men, family or man. That people of the United States of America had an indefeasible, incontestable and unalienable right to institute governments and to change, reform or alter government when their prosperity, protection, safety and happiness requires it7. John Adams in matters of foreign policy was a revolutionist who aided in the organization of the earliest foreign policy in United States of America. His diplomatic correspondence is comprised of imposing body of materials that fundamentally aid in understanding the early foreign policy by America8.

[1] McCullough, p. 78-104.

[1] Ferling, John. Almost a Miracle: the American Victory in the War of Independence. Reprint ed. Lincoln: Oxford University Press, USA, 2009.

[1] Ferling, p. 59.

[1] McCullough, David. John Adams. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2008.

As a federalist, he conducted foreign policy which at some point was underrated, cautious as well as paranoid. Adams also sought to preserve the neutral foreign policy of Washington though he always found himself in constant fight with France.

  1. How his beliefs were shaped and influenced during the revolution

John Adams did not just witness the American Revolution but he was involved in it from the start to the end. He took part in drafting of the peace treaty in 1783 with Great Britain and as a political, revolutionary leader, he is remembered as the most important figure in radical movement in Boston and one of the independent voices in America. Adams also wrote some of the most important constitutions, treaties and materials of revolutionary time. Thus, John Adams exemplifies American Revolution mind. The influence Adams had on American Revolution was quite profound and he dedicated his honor, property and life to the cause of freedom and the reconstruction of a governments that was republican in the US9. As a result of the revolution, his power of reasoning was sharpened and so was his moral character integrity and his political career magnitude. From start of his political career to the end, Adams always behaved with utmost sense of principle. The period of revolution aided in cementing and shaping his deep love for country and his fellow compatriots. Later, he adopted and invented revolutionary ideas that were concerned with scientific rationality, religious tolerance, ideas and experimental political institutions reflecting a far reaching influence on growth and development of

[1] Ferling, p. 93.

[1] McCullough, David. John Adams. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2008.

American nation. He coupled his religion and scientific ideas with deism and placed emphasis on natural rights of men while he strongly touted the importance of cultivating community, virtue and good leadership in republican setting of American society10.

  1. Thomas Jefferson
  1. Background as a Virginian, politician and a diplomat

Thomas Jefferson is the third president of the US between 1801 and 1809 as well as a founding father. He was also a great American democracy representative for American democracy and humanity rights. At advent of American revolution, he served in continental congress as Virginia representative. As a delegate for Virginia, Jefferson also helped in setting of foreign exchange rates and also recommended American currency should be based on the decimal system. Later, his recommendations were adopted. Additionally, he served as Virginia governor during the time of war 1779 and 1881. After the war came to an end, he served as diplomat to Paris then later minister to France11.

  1. Philosophy in regards to independence, republicanism foreign relations

In nature, Thomas Jefferson was a shy person but through his pen, he demonstrated his mighty abilities and skills. In his worlds on rights of British Americans, he articulated his majestic position for independence and the foreshadowing the numerous ideas in declaration of independence. He was also greatly involved in

[1] McCullough

[1] Isaacson, Walter Benjamin Franklin: an American Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.

organization of opposition towards British rule and in 1776: he was appointed as the second continental congress. As a Virginia diplomat with great power, he also made the decision to write about independence declaration in which he made assertions of fundamental rights of Americans. His beliefs on government was that a frugal and wise government that keeps men from hurting each other and one that gives them all the freedom of regulating their own affairs.

His republic philosophy was one that favored the rights of individual states instead of those of a central government that has many powers. He also never liked the notion of large military due to hi republicanism principles. While serving during the administration of John Adams, he was against the bid for larger armed forces and never welcomed the idea of a standing army. On government, Jefferson wanted a government divided among many and in which all the people took part equally. His aim was a national government that could be entrusted with defense of the nation, what is more, that the federal and foreign relations of the nation could be strengthened through laws, the police and civil rights12.

  1. His impact on the Declaration of Independence, ambassador, Bill of Rights, Political parties

Thomas Jefferson, in the history of the American people is known as one of the earliest proponents of constitutional republic and that of founding fathers of the American society.

[1] Ferling, John E. Adams Vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

[1] Ferling, p. 205.

Jefferson as well was primary author of independence declaration which heavily relied on his ideas13. As founder of one of the first two parties of the world known as the Jeffersonian Republican Party, he largely opposed Federalist Party and its government since he knew it would grow to become too large and be disconnected from the people. What is more, as an ambassador to France, he bitterly refuted the French Revolution and also helped in bringing democracy.

Jefferson also helped in redefining republicanism and promoting the American people’s equal rights and democracy while skirmishing aristocracy and instituting religion. On Bill of Rights, Jefferson wanted the rights to be included in the American constitution so as to make sure the people did not lose certain freedoms. He also fought for freedoms like the freedom of speech and right to trial. He committed his life to promoting human freedom and also helped in securing of human liberty as well as equality from wings of tyranny14.

  • Adams and the Federalists
  1. Central Government Beliefs

John Adams emphasized on the form of government that is able to communicate with ease, happiness, comfort and advocates for one’s security as well as promotes a great number of people to a great degree as the ideal government.

[1] Isaacson, Walter Benjamin Franklin: an American Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.

[1] Isaacson, p. 478.

He believed in a central government capable of providing happiness for its people and that government had to have a virtue. He was also the leading proponent of republicanism and a central, strong government that has separate branches. He also designed his government on the basis of strong executive over a bicameral legislative body that has a branch for courts15.

John Adams in addition favored the notion that it was only those who were wealthy and with property that were supposed to take care of American matters, and as such, making him one later founders of Federalist Party.

  1. Presidency and his actions (Alien and Sedition Acts etc)

The second president of the US, John Adams stands as the most tragic figure. He was among the most vocal and earliest leaders for colonial independence. Adams presidency was one characterized by many things which included his strong beliefs on a central government that was strong. On alien and sedition acts frontier, the majority of federalist in congress, elected defenses against domestic enemies as such, they desired to cripple the Republican Party. It became the doctrine of the federalists to propagate the radicalism of the French in America and this was especially the work of the Great British revolutionaries. This continued ad after a duration of 14 years, the congress managed to provide control for the aliens in an already declared war. The president was also given power to deport any foreigner suspected on grounds of subversive activity. Without enforcement, the alien acts were a form of intimidation to foreigners and led to some consequences. Evidently, the sedition acts were more serious as the federalists and republicans increased their levels of vituperation. The Hamilton, Adams and their parties carried on to suffer severe attacks from republican editors even after XYZ revelation which was purposed to drive America into an unnecessary and destructive war against their loyal ally. Finally, President Adams signed the sedition and aliens acts and his attitude towards aliens during the signing was not recorded. He never made any recommendations for such measures previously to congress and his replies condemned and addressed the influences of foreigners in threatening the stability of the nation.

  1. His relationship with the Federalists

John Adams was a very strong federalist pushing and promoting for a form of national power and government that was centralized. He was a federalist leader inviting other federalists to his administration to serve as supporters. The Federalist Party was among the 2 major parties in America and in the world. It dominated until the defeat of Adam in 1800 and later, the parties joined others. Other influential and strong leaders who also accepted federalist include Alexander Hamilton, John Lay and John Marshall. All made a push for more efficient, new constitution. Adams who at that time was the vice president managed to succeeed the first president as avowed federalist and became the first to achieve the chief magistracy16.

  1. Relationship with Jefferson

[1] Ellis, Joseph J. Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation. New York: Vintage, 2002.

[1] Ellis, p. 375.

The relationship between Adams and Jefferson was symbolic and iconic in the history of the US. This was not just because of the ups and down that the relationship experienced but the profound effects on the governing and founding of American nation. Their meeting for the first time was in 1755 and they developed a link that was friendly for one another. For the first period of their friendship, they exchanged praises constantly as well as affection for each other17. The description Jefferson had of Adams was that of an amiable individual while Adams indicated that Jefferson was an intimate correspondence. These two worked together in independence declaration and also travelled together to France for purposes of diplomatic chores. During drafting of American declaration of independence, they both made an agreement on the need of America to merge into one national government. Both also shared similar views in advocating for reconciliation and calling for reconciliation. They also called upon American people to stand for independence since they both believed it was through that the nation would be able to progress. What is more, some of the common opinions that are shared by both were the main reasons that helped in strengthening their relationship. Later, they began showing political differences in a couple of issues and to a point, differed publicly which affected their relationship in the long term though even after the defeat of Adams, they exchanged correspondence and the son of Adams became a minister in Jefferson’s administration18.

[1] Ellis, p. 581.

  1. Jefferson and the Democratic Republicans
  1. Republican Beliefs

The main agenda of Jefferson was implementation of a democratic nation. In his sense of democracy, he believed in a set of agendas marking through his strong beliefs in agrarianism and the strict limits on national government.

  1. Jefferson Vs Hamilton

During the 1970’s, there was prolonged conflict between the first American parties. The Federalist party which was led by Hamilton and democratic republican led by Jefferson. The Federalist represented interests of manufacturing and traded perceived as forces that would drive the process. They also believed they could advance via a central government with capability f initiating sound public credit and a stable currency. Hamilton mustered popular appeal to successful stand for elective position but by far, he was the major generator of federalist ideology and public policy. To his public life, he brought his love for organization, order and efficiency.

The republicans, on the other hand led by Jefferson articulated agricultural values and interests. They were in distrust of bankers, believed in democracy and freedom and they cared little about manufacturing and commerce. They also had little need for a government that was strong. While Hamilton feared anarchy and firmly believed in order, Jefferson was afraid of tyranny and believed in freedom. Hamilton viewed England as an example while Jefferson on the other hand looked at overthrowing the French revolution. Though they both had some active roles in the revolution, they never worked together till Jefferson got appointed secretary state and Hamilton was the first treasury secretary.

  1. His relationship with Adams

The relationship between Jefferson and Adams was one of the most symbolic and iconic to the history of the US not just for its ups and downs but also as it greatly influence the governing and founding of the nation. They met in 1775 for the first time and developed a friendly liking. During the first decade of their friendship, they echnaged praises constantly and affection. Jefferson described Adams as amiable while Adams wrote of Jefferson as an intimate correspondence. They worked together in independence declaration and travelled together to France for chores that were diplomatic. During drafting of American declaration of independence, they agreed on the need of America to merge into one national government. Both shared similar views in advocating for reconciliation and calling on American people to stand for independence as they both believed it would lead to progression of the nation. What is more, the common opinions they shared helped in strengthening their relationship.

 

 

Bibliography

Adams, John. John Adams: Revolutionary Writings 1775-1783 (library of America, No. 214) Library of America, 2011.

Chernow, Ron. Washington: a Life. New York: Penguin Press HC, The, 2010.

Ellis, Joseph J. Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation. New York: Vintage, 2002.

Ferling, John. A Leap in the Dark: the Struggle to Create the American Republic. Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA, 2004.

Ferling, John. Almost a Miracle: the American Victory in the War of Independence. Reprint ed. Lincoln: Oxford University Press, USA, 2009.

Ferling, John E. Adams Vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. 2012

Isaacson, Walter Benjamin Franklin: an American Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.

McCullough, David. John Adams. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Meacham, Jon. Thomas Jefferson: the Art of Power. New York: Random House, 2012.

Randall, Willard Sterne. Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor. New Word City, Inc., 2012.

Rhodehamel, John H., ed. The American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence. New York: Library of America, 2001.

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