Essay Example on John Adams challenged Great Britain's authority in colonial America








John Adams challenged Great Britain's authority in colonial America He oppressed British imposition of high taxes and tariffs He no longer believed that the government in England had the colonists best interests in mind He spoke out against the Townshend Act In 1778 Adams was sent to Paris to make sure the aid for the colonists were good He returned to America and worked as a framer of the Massachusetts Constitution In 1783 John and John Jay and Benjamin Franklin helped with the Treaty of Paris which officially ended the problems between America and Britain In 1770 Adams agreed to defend the British soldiers on trial for killing five people and it became known as the Boston Massacre He believed that every person deserves a defense and he took the case without hesitation Adams provided evidence that showed that they were guilty and evidence with the mob that had gathered and that the first soldier who fired upon the crowd was simply responding the way The jury freed six of the eight soldiers while two were convicted of manslaughter Reaction to Adams defense of the soldiers was hostile His actions later showed his reputation as a courageous generous and fair man That same year Adams was elected to the Massachusetts Assembly and was one of five to represent the colony at the First Continental Congress in 1774 When the Congress started the Continental Army in 1775 Adams nominated George Washington of Virginia as its commander in chief In May 1776 Congress approved Adams s resolution proposing that the colonies each adopt independent governments He wrote a document which was approved on May 15 setting the stage for the formal passage of the Declaration of Independence On June 7 1776 Adams seconded Richard Henry Lee's resolution of independence and backed it passionately until it was adopted by Congress on July 2 1776 Congress told Adams ahead of time along with Thomas Jefferson Benjamin Franklin Robert R Livingston and Roger Sherman to draft the declaration Jefferson would write the first draft which was approved on July 4

Adams did not buy slaves he thought is was wrong and declined the utilize of slave labor saying I have through my whole life held the practice of slavery in such abhorrence that I have never owned a negro or any other slave though I have lived for many years in times when the practice was not disgraceful when the best men in my vicinity thought it not inconsistent with their character and when it has cost me thousands of dollars for the labor and subsistence of free men which I might have saved by the purchase of negroes at times when they were very cheap John Adams Adams generally tried to keep the issue out of national politics because of the anticipated southern response during a time when unity was needed to achieve independence He spoke out in 1777 against a bill to emancipate slaves in Massachusetts saying that the issue was presently too divisive and so the legislation should sleep for a time He also was against use of black soldiers in the Revolution due to opposition from southerners Slavery was abolished in Massachusetts about 1780 when it was forbidden by implication in the Declaration of Rights that John Adams wrote into the Massachusetts Constitution Abigail Adams vocally opposed slavery

Adams was raised to worship his religion because his ancestors were Puritans According to biographer David McCullough as his family and friends knew Adams was both a devout Christian and an independent thinker In a letter to Benjamin Rush Adams credited religion with the success of his ancestors since their migration to the New World in the 1630s Adams was educated at Harvard when the influence of deism was growing there and sometimes used deistic terms in his speeches and writing He also believed that church services was beneficial to man s moral sense Everett concludes that Adams strove for a religion based on a common sense sort of reasonableness and maintained that religion must change and evolve toward perfection Fielding argues that Adams beliefs synthesized Puritan deist and humanist concepts Adams at one point said that Christianity had originally been revelatory but was being misinterpreted and misused in the service of superstition fraud and unscrupulous power Goff acknowledges Fielding s persuasive argument that Adams never was a deist because he allowed the suspension of the laws of nature and believed that evil was internal not the result of external institutions Frazer notes that while Adams shared many perspectives with deists Adams clearly was not a deist Deism rejected any and all supernatural activity and intervention by God consequently deists did not believe in miracles or God s providence

Adams however did believe in miracles providence and to a certain extent the Bible as revelation Frazer further argues that Adams theistic rationalism like that of the other Founders was a sort of middle ground between Protestantism and deism By contrast David L Holmes has argued that Adams beginning as a Congregationalist ended his days as a Christian Unitarian accepting central tenets of the Unitarian creed but also accepting Jesus as the redeemer of humanity and the biblical account of his miracles as true Like many of his Protestant contemporaries Adams criticized the claims to universal authority made by the Catholic Church In 1796 Adams denounced political opponent Thomas Paine s deistic criticisms of Christianity in The Age of Reason saying The Christian religion is above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times the religion of wisdom virtue equity and humanity let the Blackguard Paine say what he will

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