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Revolutionary Characters: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

Gordon S. Wood, an Alva O. Way University Professor as well as a Professor of History at Brown University, is the receiver of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for History for The Radicalism of the American Revolution. He also became the recipient of the Bancroft Prize for the book titled The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787 in 1970. In his book Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Differently, Wood provides a chain of vividly enlightening assessments of the people like Adams, Jefferson, and Madison who became recognized as the founding fathers.

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Each of their life is reflected on in the round, but the fibers that fasten the work collectively and provide it the collective power of disclosure is the notion of character as a lived veracity for these individuals. They as considered to be the earliest generation in history which was wilfully self-made, individuals who were aware of the arc of lives, as of realms, as being one of ethical development. In this dissertation, we mull over the ideologies of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

John Adams was an American politician who became the second President of the United States, subsequent to serving two terms as the first Vice President of the nation. He is considered to be one of the most significant Founding Fathers of the United States. Adams first acquired eminence in the early hours of the American Revolution. As a representative from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, he was a leading role architect in the process of Congress approving the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Massachusetts’s new constitution, which was endorsed in 1780 was formulated principally by Adams himself, reflected directly his political and social ideology. It was the first document to bring in a bicameral administration. In one of his published works entitled A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States Adams rejects the perspective of numerous European authors as to the cruelty in the framework of state administrations.

In his writings, Adams advocated that “the rich, the well-born and the able” ought to be isolated from other individuals in a senate. This would put off their efforts of dictating to the lower house. American political contemplation altered by decades of vital and probing debate in addition to determining empirical pressures had discarded the classical conception of politics which understood government as a mirror of social estates. Adams’s uncharacteristic characterization of the term ‘republic’ and his endorsement of the idea for a constitution sanctioned by the people was a significant notion to be contemplated. In addition, his ideas about checks and balances were also noteworthy. Adams played a major role in putting the scheme of “checks and balances” on the intellectual arena.

Adams was opposed to the concept of slavery and on no account acquired a slave and rejected on ethical grounds to employ slave labor. Thus, his views were open and liberal and these views were “insights into the springs of human action and the intimate essence of government”. Nevertheless, he contradicted a bill to liberate slaves in Massachusetts, was in opposition of the usage of black militia in the Revolution, and made efforts for the issue to be kept away from the national political framework. Thus, as a founder of the nation, he was not able to meet the description of a leader with “traditional American political values” completely.

Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States, one of the most important architects of the Declaration of Independence, and one of the most prominent Founding Fathers of the nation for his support of the principles of republicanism in the United States. In the role of a political theorist, Jefferson was an individual of the Enlightenment and affiliated with many scholarly leaders in Europe.

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He idealized the sovereign yeoman farmer as the paradigm of republican qualities, disbelieved cities and sponsors, and supported states’ rights and a firmly restricted federal administration. Jefferson has been time and again regarded by intellectuals as one of the most influential U.S. presidents.

Jefferson had a major role to play in advancing the concepts of republicanism in the United States. He maintained that the British aristocratic framework was intrinsically fraudulent and that Americans’ attachment to communal worth needed liberty.

He backed the War of 1812, hopeful that it would push away the British forces and ideological intimidation from Canada. Jefferson’s visualization for American good worth was that of farming land of yeoman farmers having supreme control over their internal affairs. Jefferson was opposed to the idea of a realm of commerce and manufacturing, which according to him provided too many persuasions into corruption.

Jefferson’s inherent faith in individuality and the potential of the country turned him into the father of American exceptionalism. Specifically, he was certain that a sparingly populated America could steer clear of what he regarded as the dreadfulness of class-divided, industrialized Europe.

Jefferson’s stern opposition to the Bank of United States reflects his ideologies. Jefferson assumed that every person has what he called “certain inalienable rights.” However, his explanation and take on the right of “liberty” is one for which he is most noted. Jefferson’s dedication to upholding equality was articulated in his works and decisions while in power. His commitment to “consent of the governed” was so meticulous that he held that people could not be morally restricted by the dealings of earlier generations. This is the perfect example of Jefferson’s “insights into the springs of human action and the intimate essence of government”.

Both these men have left a significant mark on the history of the United States of America. Both Jefferson and Adams were men of immense authority and influenced important chapters of history. However, Jefferson seemed to have the edge over Adams in terms of popularity as Founding Father. Adam’s efforts though not recognized at that period of time have gained considerable acknowledgments on later occasions.

As a whole, it could be stated that Jefferson is much more aligned with the description of “traditional American political values” because by supporting the cause of the farmers he made it possible to establish the fundamental stability of the newly formed nation through agriculture. Along with this, his republican views made it possible for the nation to gain its stature that is referred to as American exceptionalism. Thus, though Adam is very relevant to US history, it is Jefferson who gave shape to the fundamentals of the nation. Thus, Jefferson is closer to the above description than Adam.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 12). Revolutionary Characters: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/revolutionary-characters-john-adams-and-thomas-jefferson/

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