The Life Of John Adams Essay

The Life Of John Adams Essay

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The life of John Adams is well documented thanks in part to the many letters of correspondence with his wife Abigale Adams. During his life John Adams was an influential figure in American politics. He was the voice of Independence during the first and second congressional meetings as well as ambassador to France and Americas first ambassador to Britain; not to mention he was the Vice President and President of the United States. HBO has made a series titled after this influential man. This will focus on the second episode titled Independence. This episode takes place from 1774 to 1776, starting with the British seizure of Boston and ends on the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. When making this series the directors had to choose what parts of history would be shown and in what light; but in order to make those decisions they first had to choose a theme that would draw an audience. Thinking about the audience that would be watching (mainly Americans), they choose to show parts of history portraying the hardships that Americans endured pre-declaration and the tyranny of the crown of England, all these through a lens of “Americanism”. Some of the scenes that stuck out to me was the arguments between loyalist John Dickenson and patriotic John Adams, smallpox vaccination of the Adams Family, and the English response to the Declaration.
John Dickenson was a congressional representative from Pennsylvania most known for being the only representative to not sign the declaration (Ben Franklin signed in his absence) and being a proponent for reconciliation instead of Independency. In the film he was symbolically represented as England and Adams as America. Just the way the actors were dressed showed this, Dicken...


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...c scene elicits a feeling of sympathy for the colonists and was important to add into the series because it was such a huge cause of death at that time.
The title itself is enough to understand the portrayal of events. John Adams is the cookie cutter American patriot and is what we think of when we say founding fathers. Historically speaking this series is accurate, although clearly there is a lens of American patriotism that you must look through if you want to get any meaningful history out of it. I think it would be interesting to write a book much like Richters Facing East to Indian Country (a portrayal of the settling of America from a Native Americans point of view) but from the British’s point of view during the time of the revolution. Was it just some self-interested businessmen that fueled the fires of independence or just cause against an English tyrant?

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