Monday, December 29, 2014

Abigail Adams on Self-Reliance

 
Abigail Adams


In all the letters I have read from the founding generation, no one person exemplifies self-reliance better than perhaps Abigail Adams.  After reading over 900 letters of Abigail to various personalities, particularly John Adams and Mercy Otis Warren, it became clear Mrs. Adams believed that God had blessed America and that Americans ought to consider fending for themselves.  In this excerpt from a letter to John Adams dated 21 September, 1777, she tackles the issue of remaining self-reliant:

 

"Your observation with regard to Luxery are very just, but trade and commerce will always support it.  The Necessity of times will be a temporary restraint upon it, and put us upon seeking Resources among ourselves."

 

She then asks:

 
 "We can live much better than we deserve within ourselves.  Why should we borrow foreign Luxuries.  Why should we wish to bring ruin upon ourselves."

 

Why indeed?

 
 

 

Read this letter and more here:  http://founders.archives.gov/




 Abigail Adams to John Adams, 21 September 1777,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/04-02-02-0279 [last update: 2014-12-01]). Source: The Adams Papers, Adams Family Correspondence, vol. 2, June 1776 – March 1778, ed. L. H. Butterfield. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963, pp. 346–349.

 

 
 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Abigail Adams on Human Nature


During the Revolutionary Era, not all were on board to fight the British.  Some were called "Loyalists" and rightfully so because they pledged their allegiance to the British Crown.  Yet, even some Patriots questioned the effectiveness of a new government without British control.  In her November 27, 1775 letter to husband and "dear friend" John Adams, Abigail Adams voiced her concerns:

 

"If a form of Government is to be established here what one will be assumed?  Will it be left to our assemblies to chuse one?  And will not many men have many minds?  And shall we not run into Dissentions among ourselves?"

 

Here she notes her sentiments about the nature of man.  (Note, it rings similar to James Madison's later pronouncement in The Federalist No. 51 that, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary."):

 

"I am more and more convinced that Man is a dangerous creature, and that power whether vested in man or a few is ever grasping, and like the grave cries, give, give.  The great fish swallow up the small, and he who is most strenuous for the Rights of the people, when vested with power, is as eager after the perogatives of Government.  You tell me of degrees of perfection to which Human nature is capable of arriving, and I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should arise from the scarcity of the instances."

 
 
 
Check out this letter and more:  http://founders.archives.gov/




 
Abigail Adams to John Adams, 27 November 1775,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/04-01-02-0218 [last update: 2014-12-01]). Source: The Adams Papers, Adams Family Correspondence, vol. 1, December 1761May 1776, ed. Lyman H. Butterfield. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963, pp. 328–331.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

18th Century Time Capsule


A time capsule buried by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams was discovered this week under a cornerstone in the Massachusetts State House in Boston.  Read the complete exciting story here:

 

http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/11/us/boston-time-capsule-paul-revere-sam-adams/index.html?sr=sharebar_twitter