Talk:John Adams

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Biography (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 
WikiProject U.S. Congress (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject U.S. Congress, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the United States Congress on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
This article is about one (or many) Person(s).
WikiProject Politics (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Politics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of politics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject International relations (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject International relations, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of International relations on Wikipedia.
If you would like to participate, you can edit the article attached to this page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Homeschooling (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Homeschooling, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of homeschooling-related topics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject United States / Massachusetts / Government / Presidents / State Legislatures (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Massachusetts (marked as Mid-importance).
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject U.S. Government (marked as Mid-importance).
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject U.S. Presidents (marked as High-importance).
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject U.S. State Legislatures (marked as Low-importance).
 
Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team / v0.7
WikiProject icon This article has been reviewed by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team.
Taskforce icon
This article has been selected for Version 0.7 and subsequent release versions of Wikipedia.
 
Note icon
This article is included in the 2006 Wikipedia CD Selection, or is a candidate for inclusion in the next version. Please maintain high quality standards and, if possible, stick to GFDL-compatible images.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the quality scale.

Cost of shoes[edit]

What kind of shoes would cost £19 in 1770? See Guinea (British coin): 18 guineas was £18-18/, or 2/ short of £19. For a little background, note that this page (associated with Colonial Williamsburg) states that a Virginia minister ten years prior could expect an annual salary of £60, just three times that. The general value of gold coinage wouldn't drop so rapidly, and the price of shoes wouldn't rise so rapidly, as to make £19 able to buy just a pair of shoes: otherwise the minister's children would be more barefoot than the cobbler's, either because they couldn't afford any or because the cobblers would have all migrated to Massachusetts where they could sell shoes for ridiculous prices. Either someone's misread the source, or we need to investigate whether this source is reliable here. Nyttend (talk) 05:30, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

If you view the source, which is viewable and searchable on GoogleBooks and Amazon, you'll see that that was actually a later offhand remark by Adams himself, therefore the "barely enough to buy a pair of shoes" was dramatic and humorous licence on his part (edit: turns out Adams didn't mention shoes either). I have edited the Wikipedia article accordingly (EDIT: meaning I removed mention of shoes). Softlavender (talk) 04:00, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
It looks like we are citing John Ferling as stating that the legal fees paid to Adams amounted to a meager sum. I did not find that in my (brief) search of the book referenced. Eric talk 13:59, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Page 77: "Why would Adams have accepted such a case? The soldiers could hardly pay exorbitant fees. Adams in fact later remarked that he earned only eighteen guineas off the case, barely sufficient to purchase a pair of shoes." Additionally, it is well established in other records/books that the soldiers offered a retainer of only one guinea, which he readily accepted. Softlavender (talk) 01:36, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
Right, I saw Adams' remark above, where you seem to be saying he was only joking about the sum being small. As Nyttend mentions above--and I think I saw elsewhere--18 guineas would be about 4 months' wages for some professions in those days. I'm no expert, but I think 18 guineas was a substantial sum for working or enlisted people then. Eric talk 02:28, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
It was a very small sum for Boston's foremost attorney to be paid for defending not just one but eight separate men, in eight separate trials, against the charge of murder, with the death penalty, before the Superior Court of Judicature, the highest court in Massachusetts. That's just 2 guineas per murder trial. I changed the wording in the Wiki article per Nyttend's questioning the accuracy of 18 guineas being the price of a pair of shoes. That question is actually a question for Ferling, and anyone is free to contact him and query him about it. I'm not sure if the "barely sufficient to purchase a pair of shoes" part is Ferling's statement of fact, or him quoting Adams. The point however was that was a bizarrely low sum for him to be paid for the cases, especially considering he was going against the grain and against public animosity in order to defend the soldiers. Hope that helps! Perhaps "small" would be a better word than "meager"; I can change that in the article. However any further speculation about the sum, or the price of shoes, is I think not really determinable by us and so probably needs to be directed to an expert/source like Ferling: http://johnferling.com/contact/ -- Softlavender (talk) 03:31, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
  • OK, at this point I too do not like the mention of the price of a pair of shoes, not even in the citation we give. So I changed that citation to two different ones: One is the source of the info (Adams' autobiography manuscript); and the other is a discussion of the trial in the American Bar Assocation Journal. Neither of them mention shoes. :) Softlavender (talk) 11:29, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
If I ever knew it, I'd forgotten they were separate trials. That does make the fee seem pretty small even though I don't know what a guinea bought in those days. Thanks for the work you've done. Eric talk 21:09, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
Oops, this site says they were tried "seperately", which in my haste I misread as separate trials, but it really means separate from the ringleader Preston; so there were in fact two trials. Anyway, the 1968 ABA Journal says that 18 guineas was about $50 of "today's" money, which with inflation would be about $300 in 2014, for the murder trials for all eight soldiers, which lasted over two weeks and took untold amounts of preparation beforehand and earned Adams the extreme vilification of his countrymen. Softlavender (talk) 00:27, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm not passionate (or well-informed) about this, but I would be very surprised if that ABA statement--that 18 1775 guineas is equivalent to 50 1968 dollars--is correct. From doing various searches on the web for currency history info, I think 18 guineas in 1775 would have the buying power of hundreds of 1968 pounds. This Old Bailey web page has some helpful info on the buying power of a pound in the 18th century. But I have found it challenging to find info on the web that looks reliable or comprehensive on this topic. Eric talk 13:52, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't think we are going to be able to establish any authority beyond the ABA Journal ourselves, except to note that it was a very small sum for Adams to be paid. Plus we can't really generalize unless we have the exact year (1770) and place (Boston). I tried looking through Boswell's Life of Johnson, and in 1775 Johnson notes rather sketchily some of his travel expenses in France, in guineas: [1]. In any case, this entire question is a question for an expert, which none of us are, and which at this point I'm not sure Ferling is either, but he could at least be asked to back up his statement with some facts or proof if someone emailed him. Softlavender (talk) 23:12, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

Capitalization in the intro[edit]

I recommend we capitalize president of the Uninted States & vice president of the United States, to match this article with the rest of the US Presidential & Vice Presidential bio articles. GoodDay (talk) 04:29, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

The words president and vice president are only capitalized when it comes immediately before the name of a person. Thus "President John Adams" would be correct, but "John Adams was president of the United States" would also be correct. See [2] and [3] for more details. --Jayron32 04:34, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Why hasn't this been applied to the other articles-in-question? GoodDay (talk) 04:37, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Because you didn't fix it. When you do so, cite MOS:JOBTITLES which states rather unambiguously favors the "John Adams was president of the United States" (see the Mitterand example there). --Jayron32 04:43, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
MOS:JOBTITLES, thanks. I'll get to fixin' the rest :) GoodDay (talk) 04:46, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
It should be noted that the guideline gets changed periodicially w/o consensus. See recent discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Capital letters#President of the United States. Woodshed (talk) 07:27, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
I've just commented there, to seek a clarification on what to do. Personally, I don't favour either version (capitalized or uncapitalized), but I do prefer that all these US Presidential & Vice Presidential bio articles be consistant. For the last roughly 2 yrs, this article (John Adams) has been sticking out like a hang nail. GoodDay (talk) 13:32, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
I personally favor capitalization, especially if that's the way all other U.S. Presidential bio articles have it. It's a long-standing tradtion, one I was taught in school, that the post of U.S. President (unlike presidents of companies, entities, organizations, etc.) is the one usage where that word is capitalized. Softlavender (talk) 01:26, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Except Wikipedia favors information which is cited to reliable sources like the Associated Press Style Guide and not stuff I think I vaguely remember from school. --Jayron32 01:40, 3 June 2014 (UTC)