We have seen all seven segments of the TV miniseries, “John Adams”, based on the book by David McCullough. It was great. John Adams was a great man. He was a short, bald, rotund, feisty kind of guy who may have been easy to dislike. He was very articulate and spoke his mind about matters. Oddly enough, he successfully defended the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre. He finally got his fill of the British and was the most outspoken delegate at the Continental Congress to rally us to Revolution. He was on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. Although Jefferson did the writing, Adams was the spokesman for independence and the architect of the revolution. He didn’t like his role as ambassador to England or as Vice President. As president his views were controversial and he became at odds with his friend Thomas Jefferson. Adams was a Federalist and supported a strong central government but he even had strong disagreements with his Federalist colleagues like Alexander Hamilton. Adams was opposed to taking sides with France or England in their disputes and even disbanded our army, which infuriated Hamilton. Adams was a brilliant man whose greatest advisor was his equally brilliant wife, Abigail.
As an old man, he was ask to view the famous painting, of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence by John Trumbell, that now hangs in the Rotunda of the US Capitol. The picture shows the committee who wrote the document presenting it to the president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock. The members of the committee standing before Hancock are Jefferson, Adams, Roger Sherman and Benjamin Franklin. 42 of the signers are seated along with 5 other patriots. A close look at the painting shows Adams standing on Jefferson’s foot.
Adams didn’t like the painting because he said it was inaccurate. No such scene took place. The delegates were wandering in and out and never assembled like shown in the painting. Adams claimed that the real history of what happened is lost, as is so much of history. Adams is sure right about the accounts of history. The news media and those who record the events in retrospect, distort the true facts. The facts are subject to individual interruption by those doing the recording and are filled with biases and personal opinion. We can’t even get the straight facts about what happened yesterday. Major events like the Holocaust are now claimed by some to have never occurred. There are multiple versions of the details surrounding the assassinations of Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
I just wrote the obituary of my brother-in-law and the facts surrounding his life where hard to obtain and the information from various sources was conflicting. It’s hard to get the correct facts about almost anything. As I sit on the porch and watch my tomatoes grow and observe the habits of the deer that roam my back yard, I am keeping a daily record. I sure want to have the facts straight for my defense when I finally have to shoot one of those creatures for eating my tomato plants. Right now, for me, that is even more important than the Declaration of Independence.