The initial security of America as well as the revolutionary war can be attributed to several men; however, none distinguished himself as being the main contributor to both as John Adams. Born October 30, 1735, John Adams was an American lawyer, political theorist, statesman, diplomat and one of the founding fathers. He was United States’ second president having served from 1797 to 1801. Hailing from New England, he was a highly educated lawyer and prominent figure who promoted republicanism because he represented Enlightenment ideologies (Ferling, 2010). Indeed, John Adams’ contribution to the independence of the United States was immense considering that he witnessed the American Revolution from its beginning to its end.
Adams’ Contribution to Independence
Among his peers in the Continental Congress, John Adams was identified and considered being the shrewd leader. His influence greatly contributed towards the formation of the Declaration of Independence as well as the severance from Great Britain. As a highly educated Bostonian, his background enabled him to assume important positions in the colonial government. It is argued that Adams’ foundation as an important political figurehead was evident from his initial days at the Continental Congress, and peaked the day he left office as the President of the U.S. It is not surprising that his peers and historians noted his zeal and energy as the cause of America’s independence. Ferling (2010) asserts that, without his contribution, the chances of a successful revolutionary war would have been diminished, because his contributions played a significant role to its success.
Adams’ contribution to America’s independence started way back in 1776. In February of this year, Adams returned to Philadelphia and found that Northern delegates discussed the urgent problem of independence. Since he had just been converted as a new supporter to the cause of America’s independence, Adams realized that a unanimous Congress was the only way out for independence (McCullough, 2008). Among those who were opposed to independence was Virginia’s Jon Harrisons, and Adams realized that he had to treat those in the opposition respectfully if they were to be won over. Therefore, Adams made sure that he handled himself diligently in opposing the opposition’s stance, that reconciliation should be principal in the minds of the colonists. He dismissed the assertion that New Englanders liked war by admitting that other every attempt to remedy the situation with the mother country should be pursued, but Adams considered this as a futile effort. Based on the disturbances and events that he had witnessed including the Battle of Bunker, Adams held that the British would be very reluctant in accepting their terms for peace (McCullough, 2008). Nevertheless, Adams debated the idea of independence with vigor throughout the following months, and after the publication of Common Sense.
Evidence reveals that the efforts of Adams and other congressmen who supported the notion of independence had impacted the mindset of Congress as a whole. Therefore, an act that was aimed at effectively unarming Tories in American colonies was passed on March 14, 1776. This action by Congress was a clear indication that they were willing to go ahead and protect themselves from British loyalist in case war erupted. Additionally, Congress unanimously voted for legislation that would compel the government to fund two fast privateering vessels that would defend American merchants from the ruthless British frigates (Ferling, 2010). Soon after, Adams was appointed as a member of the naval committee and due to his active role in laying down the rules and regulations; he was credited for having helped in the establishment of America’s navy. It is argued that Adams’ appointment to this committee was acknowledged by other delegates because of his leadership qualities and competence in administrative and organization duties. Within a short time, Adams had convinced other delegates that action must be taken in order to prevent British aggression. At the same time, Philadelphia was rife that an alliance with either France or Spain was in the offing although no formal plans had taken form.
John Adams – a visionary leader
Fielding (1998) contends that Adams was a visionary leader who envisioned America with an executive authority government. In his opinion, Adams wanted an executive government that would be elected by the bicameral legislature or two houses, similar to the British model. Additionally, he wanted this government to be guided by the ideals of a constitution that was to be declared later. His thoughts on this matter were published in spring of 1776 entitled Thoughts on Government. This pamphlet was circulated rapidly and widely in different states, and at least four states used it as a design model for their draft constitutions (Fielding, 1998). Despite the fact that his thoughts were published a decade early, his ideas contributed immensely towards convincing southern delegates, especially from South Carolina, that gaining independence was the only way because all attempts for peace had reached a deadlock. It is imperative to understand that many southerners still believed that peace was still an option. They held that if concessions were reached, the King of England would not be very forceful in his actions. Worried by their naivety, Adams enlightened the southern delegates about the situation in the north. McCullough (2008) asserts that Adams was able to reveal to them that the tyrannical British expansion would spread and encompass the south.
Due to his undying dedication, Adams was able to demonstrate to the naysayers that peace was not a viable solution. As a result, delegates opposed to independence, especially those from the southern colonies were allowed, by their colonial assemblies, to support independence in April 1776 (Fielding, 1998). At this point in time, it had become obvious that independence was the last resort for the Congress, and it was rapidly becoming the only option. In May 1776, the Congress resolved that colonial assemblies should make new governments, and draft new constitutions as a result of Adams’ labor. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution of independence that was seconded by Adams. The Congress reconvened on June 10, 1776, to make a vote on independence, but the middle colonies that remained in the opposition requested for a delay in the vote in order to seek new direction (McCullough, 2008). Amidst these events, the Congress formed a committee that would draft a declaration of independence. Bender (2006) asserts that due to his expertise, experience and leadership qualities, Adams was chosen to serve as a member of this important committee. In the begging, it was agreed that Adams should be one to draft the important document because he was a leading crusader for independence in Congress. Guided by wisdom, Adams refused this offer and suggested Jefferson in his place. By proposing Jefferson, Adams reasoned that the idea of independence would be embraced by the southern colonies because Jefferson hailed from Virginia (Miroff, 2000). Taking into consideration that southern colonies were opposed to the idea of independence. Additionally, Adams preferred Jefferson because he was more talented in writing than himself.
After the recess, Congress reconvened on July 1, 1776, and the declaration was ratified during this session. On this day, John Dickson vehemently opposed the idea of independence. When no one responded to Dickson’s opposition, Adams rose and gave a memorable and passionate speech that wooed the assembly to vote for independence. On July 4, 1776, independence was announced to the jubilation of many, including Adams (Miroff, 2000). At last, Adams’ long fought battle for America’s independence had been won. It is highly unlikely that the motion would be passed, was it not for Adams’ undying support for independence. Conversely, the motion would have experienced some unnecessary delays because of the need for majority vote. It is Adams who argued for the need for independence to the point of unanimous agreement in Congress (Bender, 2006).
Adams’ contribution to independence continued even after the U.S had gained independence. A year after the ratification of the declaration, America suffered a military defeat in the hands of the British. It became apparent that the position of post-independent America was becoming precarious due to military presence and British blockade. There was no other man that could intervene in such matters other than Adams, who was called on December 22, 1777 (Miroff, 2000). He was sent to Europe as a propagandist and a diplomat, where he joined Arthur Lee and Benjamin Franklin after being appointed as a minister. Among his many achievements that were aimed at recognizing America’s independence is convincing the Dutch republic to recognize and respect the independence of the United States. It goes without saying that Adams had a major impact on the outcome of the revolution and independence. This can be attributed to the fact that he dedicated his sacred honor, his own life, and property to the cause of liberty and America’s independence. The integrity of Adams’ moral character, the depth of his reasoning as well as his political vision was unique. From the onset of his public life and political career, Adams’ principles and actions showed the profound love he had for his country.