Thank You, John Adams, Second President of the United States! ~ Eprof2

Little has been written or said about John Adams, the first vice president, second president of the United States and primary author of the US Constitution. David McCullough wrote a best-seller on Adams several years ago and was followed-up by HBO in seven part series a year ago.

John Adams is the unsung hero of yesterday’s inauguration of Barack Obama; yet, few if any pundits on television or in print media acknowledged Adams’ role on at least two levels.

Adams was in vehement opposition to slavery and was one of the few Founders who did not own slaves nor probably ever considered buying and trading in the slave trade. The connection to Obama and other modern day civil rights advocates should be obvious.

The second level could be observed yesterday in the smooth transition from one politician of one party (Bush) to another politician of another party (Obama). John Adams was America’s first small “d” democrat. As a Federalist who ran for re-election in 1800, he was humiliated by the electorate (actually the electoral college as few individuals got to vote for president) when he came in third behind Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Both Jefferson, who finally won out the election in the House of Representatives on the 36th ballot over Burr, was a Democratic-Republican, a newly formed political party, which wasn’t even acknowledged in the Constitution.

Adams and Jefferson became bitter enemies even before the election of 1800 over slavery and their high opinions of England and France, respectively. They feuded for more than twenty years before and after both had left the office of the presidency. Ironically, they carried on a lengthy correspondence until both died on the same day, the Fourth of July, 1826.

Adams’ presence yesterday was due to his willingness to give over the powers of the presidency to a bitter enemy of a different political persuasion. No where in the modern world of the first years of the 19th century had produced such an event: a peaceful transition of power. George Washington, of course, turned over the office to John Adams but they were of the same party and the same political persuasion.

While there isn’t a single memorial to John Adams in Washington, DC, nor even a statue of him in the capital, we can witness John Adams’ leadership and commitment to democracy every four years and especially yesterday when a Democrat took over all of the nation’s powers from a Republican at 12 noon, just like Mr. Adams’ constitution says it should happen.



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69 responses to “Thank You, John Adams, Second President of the United States! ~ Eprof2

  1. Adams, better statesman than president, when push came to shove he made the same mistake George Bush did, he let fear drive his decisions:


    An act in addition to the act intituled, “An act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States.”

    [Approved July 14, 1798.]


    SECTION I. Punishes combinations against United States government.
    1. Definition of offence:

    Unlawfully to combine or conspire together to oppose any measure of the government of the United States, &c. This section was not complained of.

    2. Grade of offence:

    A high misdemeanour.

    3. Punishment:

    Fine not exceeding $5000, and imprisonment six months to five years.

    SECTION II. Punishes seditious writings.
    1. Definition of offence:

    To write, print, utter or publish, or cause it to be done, or assist in it, any false, scandalous, and malicious writing against the government of the United States, or either House of Congress, or the President, with intent to defame, or bring either into contempt or disrepute, or to excite against either the hatred of the people of the United States, or to stir up sedition, or to excite unlawful combinations against the government, or to resist it, or to aid or encourage hostile designs of foreign nations.

    2. Grade of offence:

    A misdemeanour.

    3. Punishment:

    Fine not exceeding $2000, and imprisonment not exceeding two years.

    SECTION III. Allows accused to give in evidence the truth of the matter charged as libellous.
    SECTION IV. Continues the Act to 3d March, 1801.

    SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled. That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing, or executing his trust or duty: and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise, or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanour, and on conviction before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment during a term of not less than six months, nor exceeding five years; and further, at the discretion of the court, may be holden to find sureties for his good behaviour, in such sum, and for such time, as the said court may direct.

    SECT. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter, or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered, or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either House of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either House of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States; or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the Constitution of the United States; or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act; or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.

    SECT. 3. And be it further enacted and declared, That if any person shall be prosecuted under this act for the writing or publishing any libel aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the defendant, upon the trial of the cause, to give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as a libel. And the jury who shall try the cause shall have a right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

    SECT. 4. And be it further enacted, That this act shall continue and be in force until the third day of March, one thousand eight hundred and one, and no longer: Provided, That the expiration of the act shall not prevent or defeat a prosecution and punishment of any offence against the law, during the time it shall be in force.

  2. BTW eprof, nicely done post, and I certainly understand your point and agree with part of it, but the Sedition Act is hard for me to overlook, especially when viewed in the light of the last 8 years.

  3. chefsheila


    Well done! Adams just happends to be one of my heroes. Adams was the first “Center Left” politician (for his time) in the country.

    He’s a like a Jimmy Carter. Not very well liked for his bluntness, however truthful. AND waaaayyyyy ahead of his time in beliefs and mandates for the country.

  4. dnd

    Great post eprof. Goes to show you that nobody remembers you when you’re #2 😉

  5. Nannymm

    Good morning, all! Nice post, eprof. Thanks for pointing out those details that were missed the other day.

  6. dnd

    BTW, the This Week round table is must see tv. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman spends a lot of time politely correcting the rest of the panel when they get their economic facts wrong. In a contrast so fascinating it had to be planned, across the table from Krugman sat one of the most incompetent, failed CEOs of a major company in history, Carly Fiorina.

  7. horsedooty

    nice post eprof2

  8. dog's eye view

    Am woefully ignorant on all things John Adams, so thank you very much, eprof.

    Not a single monument/memorial or statue to JA in DC? Would say his time has come!!

    (Meanwhile, our airport was renamed — unilaterally by House GOP, Bob Barr at the helm — no public call for it from local residents or travelers — for Ronald Reagan. Washington National Airport was descriptive — it’s the airport FOR Washington — and named after our first president.

    Isn’t it enough that there are urban rumors of people deplaning at Dulles and expecting to be in Cowboy-land?)

    Seriously got to remember to order that HBO DVD on John Adams. Paul Giammati and Laura Linney. When has either ever not been good in a role?

  9. BevnTempe

    Thanks eprof2 and Brian for an enlightening piece of history. Very eye opening on this Sunday morning.

    And, eprof2, can you believe those Cardinals?

  10. dnd

    Wasn’t the electoral college formed because the founders thought letting the general public vote might lead to a tyrant? Better to have knowledgeable men making that decision rather than the rest of us doofuses.

    BTW, I have re-read your post, several times. Not because I didn’t understand it. Because it was so well written and the point was so beautifully made.

  11. dnd

    Larry Summers on MTP. The guy is a freakin’ genius. Followed by “the boner,” who is not a genius, freakin’ or otherwise…

  12. Yeah I saw that too, boner is pretty lame, just keeps resorting to the same stale worn out repug talking points!

  13. chefsheila

    dnd, You all ready know the answer you tricky guy.

    but just in case, here is the answer to why the electoral college was formed.

    And I don’t think we are a uninformed as the country was back then…..of course upon think that,,,,there are many illiterate people and unaware people, and uninvolved poeple now, as back then….

    The Information age certainly has dumbed down this country.

  14. chefsheila

    ABC’s This week was excellent today! anyone who missed it. Try to watch via the internet.

    I hate to say this. But Fiorina off the campaign trail was very informative and eloquent. Our noble loreate pirze winner on the economy…..thank goodness he’s around to explain.

  15. chefsheila

    BTW, EPROF!! You and Adams….you related? 🙂 Kind of look related!!!

  16. Obama’s Partisan, Profane Confidant Reins It In

    Mr. Obama acknowledged as much at a 2005 roast for Mr. Emanuel, who is a former ballet dancer, during which Mr. Obama credited him with being “the first to adopt Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ for dance” (a number that included “a lot of kicks below the waist”). When Mr. Emanuel lost part of his middle finger while cutting meat at an Arby’s as a teenager, Mr. Obama joked, the accident “rendered him practically mute.”

  17. dnd

    Fiorina is a nitwit. I hate to be so hard on her, but I watched the value of my HP stock plummet due to her incompetence. I know people who worked at HP during her tenure and every one of them said she demoralized the entire workforce. I don’t know if it was the former or the latter that caused the board to finally give her the boot, but HP has been flourishing ever since.

  18. dnd

    Thanks for the link about the electoral college. I wasn’t always paying attention in civics class 😉

  19. I gotta agree with dnd on this one, Fiorina is a nitwit!

  20. chefsheila

    lol I was looking at her like this…

    If I were someone just turning the TV and seeing her for the first time, she came off quite different than we have seen her.

    Hence, my mention of Post Campaign.

  21. She’s seen the way the wind is blowing and doesn’t want to be left out.

  22. dog's eye view

    Bill Clinton is going to speak at Virginia’s Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Richmond on February 7.

    Would love to see the big dog, but $175/dinner ticket is not on dog’s radar.

  23. sneak in dog and bring a boxed lunch!

  24. dog's eye view

    that could work!

  25. dog's eye view

    John King has Doug Feith on his CNN show, to discuss whether Obama’s actions will keep us less safe.

    Enough for me. Not everyone deserves a microphone.

    Although Feith just said: and the administration was wrong many times (re Gitmo sessions).

    The administration. You know, them.

  26. BevnTempe

    My opinion of Ted, a “classic example of denial.”

  27. Greetings from the desert:

    Thank you all for the nice comments re: this post.

    Brian, the Alien and Sedition Act was, perhaps, the worst piece of legislation ever to be implemented in US history all because Adams didn’t like people criticizing him and his anglophile policies. Thankfully, it was overturned. But, it did give us some insight into future presidential behavior: secrecy, dictatorial, and paranoid by some of our presidents. Maybe all!

  28. dnd

    Mike Pence on John King: “A minority in congress plus the American people equals a majority.”

    Does he understand how elections work and what they represent?

  29. Yes, dnd, the electoral college was devised to keep “the mobs” from deciding who would be president. I also believe, and this is my theory alone, the electoral college was devised to prevent the remaining royalists in the former colonies from installing a monarch as president and bringing one of the royals of Europe, including England, to the US to serve as the King of America. Royals moved all around in Europe for centuries. George I came from Germany and never spoke English to his English subjects.

    If we ever wanted to be a better democracy, we should work to get rid of the electoral college.

  30. bev, who would have thunk the Cardinals in the Super Bowl!

    No, Sheila, no relation to John Adams. He was short and rather stout. I’m tall, lanky, wear a beard, and still have some hair on top. LOL!!!!

    Have a great weekend everyone, what’s left of it. See you online.

  31. dnd

    Interesting theory eprof2. And I agree that we need to get rid of the electoral college. But in doing so we need public financing of campaigns and instant-runoff-voting to prevent abuse.

  32. “we need to get rid of the electoral college.”

    Never going to happen. The small states would never agree to it.

  33. BevnTempe

    eprof2 – still kinda unbelievable about the Cards, except when you go to sporting goods stores and see all the t-shirts available for $20 or jersey’s for $80. No, I didn’t make a purchase. Waiting for the one that says SB Champs!

    I know you’re in Casa Grande and formerly taught at the U of A. My son’s partner is from CG, and his parents live there. Do you ever get up to Tempe/Phx – would love to meet you sometime.

  34. Bev, my wife and I shop in PHX, Tempe, Chandler most of the time as we live in the north part of Casa Grande and it’s only a thirty minute drive (at 80mph) on I-10. I have lived in AZ only since retiring from teaching at community colleges in WA, OR, and CA. Never did anything for the UofA, but would have liked to have had the opportunity. Yes, it would be nice to have lunch or coffee on one of the occasions we’re up your way or you’re down this way. While I don’t check in here all the time, you can send an email to to make a connection.

  35. 1. Bush Warns Obama on Jimmy Carter


    Well I need to do grocery shopping and whip up a batch of dog food for the week, later peeps.

  36. Brian, you’re right the small states would have a fit about getting rid of the electoral college and will not cede to the wishes of CA, NY, FL, and TX, to name but a few big states that would control the outcome of a popular election. However, these same big states control the outcome of the electoral college right now. No candidate can win the presidency without the electoral delegates of two or three of the big states. That’s why the pundits are always looking at Ohio, FL, PA, to determine the winner. Lose CA, NY, IL, and TX and you lose automatically. The argument has to be on principle of democracy, not which little state is going to lose its ability to determine the outcome of an election. At the same time, I know you’re right. No way will 3/4 of the states approve a constitutional amendment to get rid of the electoral college, a 19th century anachronism.

  37. Nice Post Eprof2,
    Very educational and same for the discussion that followed. That’s another thing that’s great about The BC, there is always something interesting to learn …on so many topics.


    Brian, do you make cat food too?

  38. dnd

    Who you callin’ a small state? Colorado is geographically bigger than your state. And if you recall Denver was where the DNCC was held. Both candidates campaigned heavily here.

  39. down boy, actually Colorado didn’t even come to mind, but as you well know the electoral college is based on population, not on geographic area.

  40. dnd

    And another thing. Wasn’t Dean’s “50 state” campaign somewhat successful?

  41. Oh I am so sorry, I thought you had another one.

  42. dnd I don’t really understand the leap you’re making. No UB no more cats, but in answer to your original question, no I never made cat food. Cat nutrition is beyond my pay grade!


  43. Nannymm

    This is a heartbreaking story of economic hardship.

    As the temperature plunged to minus-40 degrees last month, Nastasia Wassilie waited.
    The 61-year-old widow had run out of wood and fuel oil, and had no money to buy more. Nor was there much food in the house.,0,465568.story?track=ntothtml

  44. cute dnd

    heartbreaking indeed nanny. Why isn’t Palin doing anything to help out these people?

  45. Nannymm

    That’s a good question, Brian. My guess? They can’t do anything for her thus they don’t matter to her. Perhaps if they had some nice designer clothes in her size….

  46. And lets not forget it’s in her best interest for the price of oil to be kept high.

  47. Nannymm

    Good point. And I just feel the need to add one more thing:
    She’s an callous bitch!

  48. callous bitch works for me!

  49. Nannymm

    I thought it would. 😉

  50. Nannymm

    Saudi Arabia’s ex-ambassador to Washington said former President George W. Bush left a “sickening legacy” in the Middle East and warned that U.S.-Saudi relations would be at risk if the Obama administration doesn’t change America’s policy in the region.

  51. Nannymm

    Brian, I think WP ate my post. Can you free it?

  52. So much for the make out session between George and the King of SA!

  53. Nannymm

    I always figured the Saudi’s hated Bush, too.

  54. Obama Set to Allow States to Regulate Auto Emissions

    President Obama on Monday will direct federal regulators to
    move swiftly to grant California and 13 other states the
    right to set strict automobile emissions and fuel efficiency

  55. The directive makes good on an Obama campaign pledge and marks a sharp reversal from Bush administration policy. Granting California and the other states the right to regulate tailpipe emissions is one of the most dramatic actions Mr. Obama can take to quickly put his stamp on environmental policy.

    The presidential orders will require automobile manufacturers to begin producing and selling cars and trucks that get higher mileage than the national standard, and on a faster phase-in schedule. The auto companies had lobbied hard against the regulations and challenged them in court.

    Important stuff!

  56. good show about Air Force 1 on national geo. right now.

  57. dog's eye view

    The AF1 show! Maybe they will rebroadcast overnight. Although our picture tube is on the way out. Epilepsy inducing, really.

    So glad to think of Obama and his wonderful family enjoying that plane, and the many places those beautiful daughters will go.

  58. dog's eye view

    Good morning.

  59. chefsheila


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