John Adams - Declaration Committee Member

John Adams - Declaration Committee Member American Revolution Law and Politics American History American Presidents

John Adams - a passionate believer in colonial freedom from Britain and a strong central government - was one of five men assigned to the Declaration Committee. 

By June of 1776, it was clear to Adams that the colonies had to assert their independence.  He publicly stated his opinions with words like these:

That We [the American colonies and Britain] are divorced, a Vinculo [complete divorce] as well as from Bed and Board, is to me, very clear. The only Question is, concerning the proper Time for making an explicit Declaration in Words. 

Some People must have Time to look around them, before, behind, on the right hand, and on the left, then to think, and after all this to resolve. Others see, at one intuitive Glance into the past and the future, and judge with Precision at once. But remember you cant make thirteen Clocks, Strike precisely alike, at the Same Second. (Letter from John Adams to Benjamin Kent,  22 June 1776.)

Originally a close colleague of Tom Jefferson, Adams viewed the role of federal government differently than Jefferson (who was a strong supporter of states' rights). 

Those philosophical differences were among the reasons why the two men drifted apart for so many years after America had gained her freedom from British rule.  (They reconciled near the end of their lives.)

Media Credits

Image of John Adams - depicting his appearance at about the time he worked on the Declaration - online, courtesy Library of Congress.




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