Our Second President

photo courtesy of HBO(c) Films.

I am currently enjoying watching a new series on HBO called “John Adams.” It is all about … you guessed it! John Adams. I love history so this series is right up my alley. I know so little about our second president and independence-fighter, I am embarrassed to say, I am learning a lot from this series.

For example, did you know John Adams lived in France for most of his kids’ lives and missed out on their childhood because he was doing his duty for our country – negotiating treaties and trying to get money so that America could get on its feet after winning independence from Britain? Fascinating. I was also amazed to learn that John Adams should have been our First President but politics, as usual, got in the way of the electoral college voting him in. They chose Washington because they did not want to offend a General who had just won the war against Britain. Interesting.

I also did not know about his family- I am most taken with Abigail Adams who, while a woman during that time and not possessing many rights, did so much for her family and our country. After all, she was Adams’ closest and most trusted advisor. She had a knack for politics and the art of diplomacy that if she were alive today, she would be great on any party ticket. She would definitely have my vote! At a time when smallpox was rampant and was killing many, she had her children immunized. It was a painful procedure but she thought the alternative was even more painful. While her husband was away in another country, she did all of this and ran a home without him. She and her kids even supported the war effort by tending to the sick and wounded and making artillery and bullets.

All in all, I am very impressed with the series and how it depicts the Presidents- Jefferson is in it. I had no idea Martha Jefferson had died so young. Jefferson lost a child and his wife in the same year – tragic! I knew they had died but did not know it was the same year. He drew up plans for a new and improved estate – Monticello- when he returned from France. He was our first Secretary of State. I have been to Monticello and Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home) so I found it interesting to see them in living color. I have not visited the Adams home but it is an NPS National Historic Site so I hope to visit someday and then I will have seen the homes of the first six presidents! Whoops- I forgot about his son, John Quincy. I hope the rest of the series is as good as they say it will be.

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