Saturday, April 16, 2011

Read-A-Long: John Adams by David McCullough WEEK TWO

We are in week two of Unputdownables’ “John Adams Readalong”.  This week was all about Chapter Two: True Blue.
Chapter two focuses on his adventures once arriving to Philadelphia.  He arrived there for sessions in Congress in order to determine if we were going to declare independence from the British.  He goes into vivid detail about the area and everything connected to it. 
Being that I am a lover of history, there are a lot of names in here that I want to know more about.  Also, when in school, we heard a lot about the battles, but instead of hearing about the battles, we get blow by blow details of how we entered into the war from a political aspect, who were the major players and how Adams felt about each one.
One person in particular we learned about was Thomas Jefferson.  I have always been fascinated with him and was thinking that I may read up on him next.  The book discussed the differences between him and Adams.  When reading, what stood out the most about Jefferson was that he was a quiet and passive man.  For some reason, I have never viewed him in this light.  I always viewed him the opposite.  I do not know why, I must have read something or I am getting him confuse with someone else. 
Nevertheless, what amaze me the most with this chapter was that these men were creating a new government from scratch!  Could these same men, with the ideas and differences they had be elected into office today?  No!  We as a society always stress about the “founding fathers” and going back to their ideas, but I feel that their ideas are the very ones that a certain party is trying to move away from even though they are the ones who keep saying lets go back.  Maybe they want to go back to that particular time period and is getting it confuse with the message that the actual founding fathers was trying to convey. 
Speaking of these racial ideas, I must go back to Abigail, I love how she wrote to Adams, specifying to not forget about women and slaves.  For some reason I didn’t realize at this particular time in our country, there was people against slavery.  “It always seemed a most iniquitous scheme to me – [to] fight ourselves for what we daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to freedom as we have.  It makes me wonder how many other people felt this way and when establishing the country, was there a good fight put up to eliminate it; especially if you are establishing a new country because you are tired of being under the thumb of someone else.  I believe that it was a necessity for slavery because it was a new country and without the backing of the British they needed the (free) labor.  The bottom line is and has always been…. Money.  However, this discussion is for another time, back to chapter two.
Basically this chapter is filled with so much information and history, that I got lost in it all.  I have so many questions about who was who and etc. that I cannot really elaborate on what I read.  LOL!  I had to start making a list of names and books mention so that I can go back and look them up later in order to get an understanding of the importance of them.  What I can say is that the author REALLY did his research; I love how he went and read other people journals so that we could have an objective view of Adams. 
I learned that there is a movie that HBO did, I cannot wait to finish the book so that I can see the movie version.  I hope it is on Netflix!!!
NEXT WEEK: Chapter three: Colossus of Independence


Katy said...

The HBO series is great. I watched it last year and really enjoyed it.

I love Abigail. She is so smart and insightful--the perfect partner to Adams, it seems to me.

And since I can't help but enter your conversation about slavery: Quakers came out in opposition to slavery fairly early in colonial history. The Revolution, with its ideals about natural equality and liberty, had a big effect on the institution. Starting in the 1780s various northern states passed gradual emancipation laws that phased out slavery there. The big push for widespread abolition doesn't become a strong, unified movement until the 1800s, though, partly influenced by the Second Great Awakening (which in many places outside of the south labeled slavery as a sin).

:) Here's my readalong check-in:

Pam said...

Because the Founding Fathers all grew up with slavery such an entrenched part of society it's sadly understandable why they wouldn't consider the freedom of their African American brethren when writing up the Declaration. To me it is almost more amazing (and fortunate) that there were men strong enough to go against the grain and decry slavery as an institution and free the ones they owned.

B.C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Book Snob Wannabe said...

@Kathy: Thanks for the info. I am going to have to look into it.

@Pam: Thanks and I totally agree.

Wallace said...

You're in luck... the HBO series is on Netflix. I have it on my queue to watch after we finish the book! :)

I, too, am in amazement of these people who founded our country. That even though from different backgrounds with (sometimes) clashing visions, they were still able to start a country. Wow!