Letters of John and Abigail Adams: 1762 to 1826

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Westvaco Corporation, 2001 - Flags - 133 pages
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User Review  - MissLizzy - LibraryThing

One of my teachers recommended this book to me, and because I enjoyed the musical 1776 so much, I figured I'd give it a shot. While I did enjoy the book, it was not exactly my cup of tea. Both ... Read full review

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I borrowed this book from the local library and really didn't know much about its format or even its style. The format is essentially the words of the authors of the letters; Abigail and/or John Adams and other notables from the founding actors in the era which led to the creation of United States of America.
I was impressed with the personal nature of each correspondence and it was immediately obvious how much insight could be found in such few words written with the purpose and adroitness that each author employed. This book, for me, was simply a joy to read.
The interests and topics varied over many areas of life but most striking to me were the following topics which found great expression over the course of the lifetimes of the Adam's family. Here is a short synopsis of them and my impressions evoked from the reading of views concerning the topics of note:
Musings on Parenthood...
In the letters from Abigail Adams to Mercy Warren one finds these two women musing on what are the best practices in the rearing of children. The letters they exchange were heartfelt; these women took their responsibilities to rearing their children very seriously and, as today, sought help in delving into the best practices and goals which might provide success to their products so that they "may be so cultivated as to do honour to their parents and prove blessings to the rising generation."
It is humbling to think that the same musings which present in the minds of contemporary parents where of issue even in the relatively slower paced times at the beginnings of our great nation.
Perhaps it is well to remember also that from generation to generation the goals to producing productive and moral citizens has always started with the grounding set by parents; it has ever been so.
On the undermining of our founding principles...
John Adams wrote to his good friend and fellow founding patriot Benjamin Rush; these two men shared a deep passion for the founding of our great nation and the principles they hoped to bestow on its governing tenets. In the following letter from Mr. Rush he expounds on his growing trepidation regarding what had happened in the intervening years since the founding of the nation; especially as regards to those men “who will in case of war be called to the helm of our government”.
There is little doubt in the words of Benjamin Rush that our fair nation had lost much of the patriotic zeal which imbued the founding fathers and the Revolutionary patriots who fought to win our Liberty. In the place of the founding principles Rush argues a new “religion” has been fostered which focuses on the “Almighty Dollar”; I think that we are not unacquainted with this sentiment today.
So we see that years after the letter from Benjamin Rush decrying the change of the American principles John Adam was still of the mind to believe that our nation could only have been founded on the “general Principles” espoused by “Christian Principles”. In fact he found the “Christian” message in passages by other “secular” sources such as philosophers and even scientists (e.g. Newton). Obviously Adams did not harbor a belief that “Christian Principles” were only for “Christians” as many he cites are not of that belief. And so it is easy to see that his belief in “Christian Principles” was more of the kind which is of a more “general nature”. He appears to espouse that some principles are “universal” and “natural” and are beyond the trappings of any “ritual” or “observance”. Indeed that the principles he admires are those which lead to a moral and just view of relationships; relationship between men and their Independence, Liberty and the government which upholds such.
 

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