Talk:John Adams/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

"Test" or As I Call It: "Vandalism"

User: deliberately added false material. How do I know? See [1]. - Ta bu shi da yu 22:38, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

religius views

the border is going through the picture..... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:40, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Comment, Small Change

To those responsible for this article: great job. I knew little about this Massachussetts Liberal Trial Lawyer; he has quickly ascended my list of political heroes for having the courage to defend the British soldiers.

I made a tiny change by adding the hyperlink brackets to Bowdoin's name. bgk 20:56, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Yes, nice article. Adams is really the great lost leader of America; a much more substantial figure than the more famous Washington. Filiocht 12:44, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

Reply - courage? he did what he did for the money, just like any other lawyer would do, Im not saying its wrong, Im a law student myself and I understand, but he didnt do it for some political or ideal reason, he did it for the money, plain and simple and yeah, more contributions than Washington, GW just led a band of farmers against the most professional and feared army of the world at the time, he kept the nation togheter by not having a political agenda, the first and only president to do so,and REFUSED the crown of the USA when it was offered to him. But hey, yeah, maybe John Adams left a bigger mark in this country than George Washington

While I don't think that Adams was more substantial than Washington I do think that Adams should get more credit than he does. He kept us out of a war with France that would have threatened this country's independence and continued existence. Raylan 20:32, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Adams also endured quite a bit of shunning for accepting the job of defending the British soldiers that participated in the Boston Massacre. He did not do it for the money, he never saw lots of real money for the defense. He did believe in the law and that everyone was equal before it. Sam Adams supported his decision to accept the case for the defense and stood by him through it all. Ladydayelle 15:17, 27 September 2006 (UTC)


Has anybody noticed that Adams was inaugurated as Vice President nine days before Washington was inaugurated as President? I'm just waiting for somebody to make the claim that Adams was our "real" first President, from April 21, 1789 to April 30, 1789. — DLJessup 01:46, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Actually, John Hanson was your first real president. Filiocht | King of Regulars 07:50, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)

If we're going to have Presidents of the Continental Congress count, shouldn't John Hancock (President on July 4, 1776) be the first? — DLJessup 21:33, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Manus Hand, amateur presidentologist, writes:
Interesting observation. Here's how I look at it....
The only Constitutional rule back then was the Article II, Section 1, Clause 6, viz.:
In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President....
The only possible way in which this would apply is the "Inability to discharge" clause (since Washington had not been removed, died, or resigned). It then becomes a case of whether Washington was indeed unable to discharge his duties.
Since he had not yet fulfilled the terms of clause 8 ("Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath....") one could posit that Washington was indeed, unable to discharge the powers of the office, and that (by clause 6), they did indeed devolve upon the Vice President.
Again from clause 6, "devolve on the Vice President...and such Officer shall act accordingly [as President], until the Disability be removed." This seems to demand that John Adams was instructed ("shall") to act as President for the nine days until Washington took the oath.
HOWEVER, we know that Adams did not take the Presidential oath of office either (not until 1797, that is), so basically, even though the powers COULD be said to devolve upon him for those nine days, he did not make himself eligible to execute any of the powers of the office. Using the "you aren't President until you take the oath" argument, which is how we are able to say that Washington was not yet President, we are painted into our own corner by the fact that Adams could not have been President (for the same reason) either!
Clause 3 of Article II, section 1 states the manner in which the Presidency is conferred by election. The President of the Senate (in that case, John Adams) opened and counted all of the electoral ballots in the presence of the House and Senate. Once they were counted, the winner (Washington) became President, and a writ of election was issued by the Senate. At that time, there was no set date in the future on which the Presidency changed hands (today we have January 20 of the following year, of course) -- the only instructions they had from the Constitution were that "The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President." I do not know when the first legislation, setting an inauguration date was adopted (March 4 was used after Washington's first inaugural), but since legislation requires a Presidential signature, one would think that nothing got done until George took the oath, meaning that Congress was powerless to set any specific date for when the incoming President takes an oath. Washington just did it when he got to town and stuff. So, what we can conclude is that at the moment the votes were counted writ of election was issued by the Congress, Washington became President.
The fact that he did not have the authority to exercise any of the powers of his office until the 30th of April does not change that. One could postulate that John Adams, making the claim that Washington was "unable to discharge the duties of his office" COULD have chosen to take the Presidential oath and act as President. But since he did not, Washington was still President from the moment of the reading of the ballots. He did not do anything Presidential (no one did) until after he empowered himself to do so by taking the oath nine days later, but he was still the one and only President.
If we say that Washington was unable to discharge the duties of the office he held, because he had not yet taken the oath, then we have to also say that Adams, too, was unable to discharge them, and though you might make a case that Adams COULD HAVE BEEN acting President, had he chosen to, the fact is that he did not choose to, and so the powers remained Washington's alone, and he assumed them when he raised his hand on the 30th.
I wrote a similar argument against the case for David Rice Atchison being President. You can read it at
Calmypal (T) 17:31, Jun 21, 2005 (UTC)

Reading removed

I am removing this from the further reading section of the article:

  • Pound, John David Wedgwood John Adams: "Hostile to the Republicanism of the United States?" The Development of his Political Thought from 1765" (MA Thesis, University of Durham, 1999)

In general, I've found that a copy of a Master's Thesis (or even PhD thesis) is very difficult to get hold of. I don't think its a good idea to carry them in articles unless absolutely necessary as a source for some obscure fact. Lou I 21:13, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Yes, they are hard for most people to find, but the example of such a citation that most readily comes to mind is when James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom cites a paper on the history of the Republican Party. - Calmypal (T) 05:wasssssssssssssssssss uppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp lllllllllllooooooooooooooosssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrr01, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)

It says that the Presidential coin of John Adams will be released May 18, 2007 but that is not true because it was released May 17, 2007.

Confused about Adams & Whigs

Admittedly, I don't know a lot about Adams. After reading this article, I'm more confused. The article says that Adams rose to prominence as a member of the Whigs party. Yet, it's his son who was one of the founding members -- the Whigs weren't even founded for 20+ years after Adams (Snr's) presidency. Am I just reading this wrong? --Wolf530 00:43, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

That's a reference to the British Whig political party, not the American. In the colonies it was basically Whig (Patriot) vs. Tory (Loyalist). Christopher Parham (talk) 20:39, 2005 July 24 (UTC)
Though the link is to the Whig Party (United States). Seems the correct link should be to Patriot (American Revolution). Also noticed a bad link to Braintree. Will fix both soon. olderwiser 22:52, July 29, 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. The new wording is clearer. --Wolf530 23:41, July 29, 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps the link should be the British Whig party. I know that they were a significant influence in early American thought.


Someone butchered the first paragraph...

... see the illiterate nonsense about John Adam's son. Thisis the type of crap that justifiably gives Wikipedia a bad name. It's expected that some of the topical entries will be politically biased footballs, but this is just outright vandalism.

good point! I fixed it Rjensen 17:14, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
"Napoleon; realizing the animosity of the United States was doing no good, he signaled his readiness for friendly relations." Sorry, don't know where to put this really. Does anyone else find this sentence to be extremely choppy? "Napoleon...he"

Citation format

To me, the Harvard format is ugly and unnecessary; especially in the middle of prose. Why the hostility towards footnotes? It's much cleaner and well organised that way, and a better way to organise references. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 03:17, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

I think the footnotes are ugly and force people to take an unnecessary step (and return)--like notes at the back of a book. Quotations have to be clean and not colorized. People who are interested in John Adams can find Jefferson easy enough, but they should not be encouraged to jump somewhere in the middle of a quote. Of course we should not ordinary words like 'genius' or 'intellectual.' If someone takes the recommended link and does jump to the word genius, they will ruin the quote and not learn much about Adams. Rjensen 04:42, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
But the step is not ugly - it's just a number, as compared to citing an entire reference in the middle, which disrupts the flow and the appearance of the page. In contrast, a small number preserves the flow of the prose, and can be quickly verified with two clicks. It at most, takes only half a second - that's what anchors are for. Of course, you could be using internet explorer where it handles anchors inefficiently, but then, that's not a standards compliant browser. The point is not merely to "learn about Adams", but rather unify the concept as a whole. It will not ruin the quote. It is better to wikify, than not to wikify. Making it colored, in fact, preserves pace and makes it more aesthetic - this is wiki software after all, blue links are supposed to be very common. The concept of genius or intellectual can be wikified, because there will be readers who do not hail from the United States, or an English-speaking country, and the English encyclopedia being the largest one, they might resort to this. Remember the point of the Wikimedia function is to make access to the total sum of human knowledge, including the others, to everyone. Refusing to wikify the quote hinders that mission. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 06:08, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Besides, the introduction is weak. The lead-in section is supposed to have lots of blue links, linking it to existing concepts, such as the other founding fathers. Wikifying at least temporarily alleviates the problem; that this the whole point of having an assertive definition. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 06:10, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes the into is weak so I tried to beef it up a bit. It is very important in historical work to get quotations exactly right, and not confuse readers with added material such as a profusion of colored links to useless articles (like the one on "genius"). Less is more--and As for people, if a reader does not know who Jefferson was, he will find out by reading a little further. There is a pace and a rhythm that makes for a readable article. As for the notes: I have always hated notes buried in the back of a book and would much rather have the information immediately visible, which the Harvard system does. As for Wiki--too many editors spend too much time on low quality links. Some day we will learn who our users are and what they need. Rjensen 06:52, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Its usually better to have colour, than not to have colour. To clarify the circumstances of quotations is acceptable, it happens in other articles all the time. The one on "genius" is to clarify the cultural perception of "genius". It is not useless. Less is not certainly more when it comes into linking. Unlike notes here, you can easily "click" on them, then go back to where you were (that's what HTML anchors are for!) I see no problem. Elle vécut heureuse à jamais (Be eudaimonic!) 11:04, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Does any one know what part of Europe did his family come from, was he british? if any one knows

  • The Adams family came from Great Britain. Memory of where escapes me. I do know that the founder of the American line from which both John and Sam are descended from, Henry Adams, was a maltster by trade and a Puritan by religion. Ladydayelle 15:13, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

The Adams family came from Braintree, England , and then settled in a place on the south shore of Boston in which they decided to call Braintree. Braintree,Massachusetts was the birthplace of John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and John Hancock. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:08, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Deism and Religious Views

It seems like John Adams can easily pass for a Deist as well. The quoted sentence on his religious beliefs can also be from a Deist, as Deist love the creation of God rather than the other dogma stuff. What do you think? Zachorious 21:58, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

I very much disagree. Of all the American Founding Fathers, Adams was about the most vocal in his support of Christianity. The existing quotes on this article are obviously trying to portray that Adams was somekind of Deist or anti-religious man; this is definitely not the case. While it is argued that some of the Founders were clear Deists (Jefferson being the front-runner), Adams is convincingly not part of this group. There are so many letters and statements he made in support of religion, Christianity in particular, that I find it ironic that none of these sources have been quoted in Wiki yet. But, as I am accustomed, I must be the first to shed some light on the deeply moral and devout lives led by most of these men. Most of the Fathers were admittedly suspicious of organized religion, as can be seen through the quotes currently on the Adams article. This was a result of the strangle hold that the Church of England and the Catholic Church had on various countries in their day and in their recent history. But this did not mean that these men were Atheists, or Deists at best. While many of them did not claim membership to any particular organized Church, most of them could be considered as sort of non-denominationalists Christians back in their day. They strongly believed in God and many of them prayed regularly, sought God's guidance daily (thus ruling out both Atheism and Deism as their potential belief system), and admitted that Christianity was the religion closest to the ideal as they had; just look at Benjamin Franklin's speech at the Contstitutional Convention. While most of the Founders were definitely not members of a particular Church, they all believed in God, and believed He was instrumental in the Revolutionary War and in the founding of America. Therefore most of the Founders were arguably not Deists (as is agreed by most historians; but then again, most Wikipedians are unread and not historians and get most of their info from misguided websites, PBS, or the History Channel). Gaytan 19:09, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
Why do we need to discuss this? There's no point in speculation when it is well known that Adams avowed himself a devout Unitarian for his entire life. Speculation is only - possibly - justified in a case when a figure failed to describe their beliefs very well, such as George Washington. John Adams is not so equivocal a figure, mostly due to his staggeringly prolific pen; there is a wealth of data available in the form of his writings and letters, which admit no confusion on the issue. Kasreyn 00:48, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Kasreyn. The "religious views" section on John Adams need to be completely revamped. I will try my hand at this. Currently it is totally POV, painting Adams as some sort of anti-Christian Deist (all the quotes are about his views against historical Christianity, which, in no offense intended, was particularly aimed at the Catholic Church and perhaps even organized religion in general). He was arguably the most religious of the Founding Fathers who became presidents and openly acknowledged his beliefs in public. (Gaytan 20:51, 25 October 2006 (UTC))

I added a little section about Adams supporting the fact that he was religous (which is what I personally belive)I am also qualified to make that assumption as I read a 300+ page biography on him. CP TTD

permission to add the following Like the other founders Adams had a strong set of religious truths that he always relied upon; it is unsure whether or not he believed in the divinity of Christ or that God had an active influence on the affairs of man, but most of his speeches, letters and the testimonies of many who knew him well incline that he did. CP TTD

Adams was a Unitarian--people who say Jesus was not divine. This view dominated Boston Congregationalist circles c 1780-1830 Rjensen 08:59, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Churches change over the years. The Unitarian church of today is not the same as the Unitarian chruch of 1760. User:CP TTD 01;33 PM 28 January 2007 Also as you say it was popular from 1780 to 1830 Adams was in Europe for most of the 80's and in Washington for most of the 90's when he came back to braintree he was an old man hardly a time to change the beliefs of a very stubborn person. CP TTD 10:17 AM January 29 2007

Have you read anything to suggest that the relevant foundamental viewpoints of Unitarianism changed? I haven't, but I'm not an expert in the history of Unitarianism, so perhaps you know more. --Jahandar 00:17, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Currently this section begins by saying he was a devout Christian then describes him as a Unitarian. Perhaps it would be more accurate to call him a Unitarian here instead of (or as well as) a Christian, to avoid misrepresentation. While it is likely that he followed the teachings of Jesus (in a Jefferson's Bible sort of way), his beliefs, such as not believing in the divinity of Christ, would certainly place him outside or on the fringe of traditional Christianity. --Jahandar 00:17, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Quotes section in Adams article

Revealing of what? It would seem as if such a section would be vulnerable to POV. I figure WikiQuote is a more suitable venue for his quotes, just as it is for Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Paine, and so on. --Sparkhurst 07:01, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

revealing of Adams's state of mind. WikiQuote of course is a grave that no one enters. Did Adams have a POV--he certainly did and that should be exhibited to understand him. Rjensen 07:19, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
I am not referring to Adams POV, rather the POV I'm suggesting is the selection of quotes. The last one in particular seems like a distorted version of the quote directly above it. Nevertheless, it has been my impression that Wikipedia ought to not have articles full of lists upon lists of any kind, especially when there is something like WikiQuote to be used for that very purpose. Dinosaur or not, it still exists, it is still utilized, and it is linked to from the Adams article. --Sparkhurst 07:57, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
We're in general agreement. I think we both see Wikiquotes as a place to hide things that very few will see. The question is exposing Adams' ideas to the people who read the article, which I think is wise to do, because he is not well known. The article is NOT full of lots of lists, so it escapes censure on that regard. Rjensen 09:10, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't think we are in general agreement and I would appreciate if you would not spin it that way. I cannot account for your browsing preferences or anyone else's for that manner. I can only account for my own and I browse through Wikiquote every now and then. If Wikiquote is suitable enough for a more prolific writer of that era (Paine), then surely it is suitable for Mr. Adams. --Sparkhurst 23:25, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't see what Paine has to do with it. My point is that readers need to know about Adams and this is the place to put a few choice quotes--fewer than a dozen in this case. (The Paine entry is far longer on Wikiquotes--and is rarely used) Rjensen 23:35, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
Regarding Paine, I'm merely comparing one Founding Fathers article to another. Do you not see how placing "a few choice quotes" could lead to POV? Once again, Paine was the more prolific writer so logic would suggest he would have a longer Wikiquotes entry than Adams. You would think the fact Adams Wikiquotes entry is shorter would be of benefit to my position, but that is just one man's observation. Rarely used or rarely updated? It would seem as though copying and pasting quotes wouldn't require much revision.--Sparkhurst 23:49, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
I suggest that Wikiquotes is a compilation of quotations--rather like Bartlett's. That's fine but having a much smaller numer of selected Adams quotes in the Adams article is a valuable service to users. There is a danger to the integrity of Wiki if removal comes from editors whose own POV leads them to dislike the quotes.Rjensen 23:59, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
For the life of me I don't understand how you think making the link to Wikiquotes smaller makes it more prominent. Before you question others POV, perhaps you should question your own first.
I don't think it should be up to Rjensen or me to dictate the direction of this article. I will withdraw from this argument as I feel my points have been presented above. I hope other editors consider the points made and come to a reasonable consensus. --Sparkhurst 00:18, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
I put the link where people are likely to click on it. The Wikiquote box is terrible: only one of 3 hotlinks takes people where they want to go, and it is wrongly labeled (these are NOT quotes RELATED to Adams, but BY Adams.) Rjensen 03:24, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Do you use the default skin (MonoBook)? Well, I added two Jefferson quotes on Adams (one of them is really a Franklin quote but TJ cites it). It is best to add what is missing rather than re-invent the wheel. --Sparkhurst 06:01, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Not to be taken as an endorsement of Rjensen's general viewpoints, but I agree with him on the quotes. Some quotes would be beneficial to the article to show what Adams thought process was. However, I do not think these quotes should come in a list format since they will easily be taken out of context in that manner. Ideally, they should be presented in the article itself, with some background and context added to each by the particular wikipedian interested in doing so. Then it can be reviewed by other Wikipedians to assure the context is not biased in any way. As for a list of quotes, that should be reserved for WikiQuote. (Gaytan 21:00, 25 October 2006 (UTC))

Yet there is now a list format of quotes in this article under the heading Famous Quotations. The only quote among the four that I hear quoted often enough to be considered famous is the last one and it is usually presented out of context. Never mind Adams was referring to direct democracy when he wrote that! It isn't important, I guess. --Sparkhurst 20:37, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Question about unconstitutionl laws

Were any laws made under the presidenticy(sorry for my infamously poor spelling) of John Adams ruled unconstitutional? (Unsigned)

Personality of Adams

Should the Adams article better describe his personality? Other early great presidents, like Washington and Jefferson (even if Adams wasn't as popular), get more well-rounded treatment. The History Channel 2005 series on the presidents did not have many kind words for his traits, but they sound fitting, although there does not seem to be much proof on the Internet in a quick search I made. The HC characterized him as insecure, stubborn, opinionated, criticized in his time as pretentiously kingly - they noted he lacked counsel and unleashed his anger on his subordinates, yet wracked with self-doubt and emotionally erratic or bipolar, as though he may have had an imbalance. To his credit, the program also said he was ambitious but humble, and wanted fame and power but pulled back because he knew he had to make sacrifices. And he spoke with a lisp (like Jefferson) and had poor people skills. In all, they concluded he was eminently qualified for the presidency but his personality did not suit it. I think these qualities more or less come through the article with his brilliant diplomacy and overall good presidency despite the Alien and Sedition Acts and problems with the people and his cabinent, but I think the traits could be better mentioned. Maybe in a new section? Minutiaman 22:54, 20 July 2006 (UTC) (I didn't realize I wasn't logged in)

This article definatly presents us with a glorified view of the man. Nowhere is there to be found a mention of his racism towards the native population and negroes, or his efforts to aid genocide against the indian populations and aiding in acts of terror as a deterrent (which he himself admitted!) Naturally this isnt the sort of thing that people like to hear, but the article seems... selective without it 13:46, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Regarding Adams and racism against Blacks: Adams vehemently opposed slavery. He in fact disagreed with Jefferson about the inclusion of a clause in the Declaration of Independence that blamed the King of England for the institution. Adams never owned any slaves. In fact, when his wife made a carpenter accept a black boy as an apprentice when the white students rejected the notion of having him in the class. Their house was left in the care of a black couple. Adams may not have accepted his daughter marrying a black man but he did believe that everyone should have an equal chance. Abigail in many of her letters wrote about the irony of a country seeking freedom while their practiced enslavement. Adams also supported the creation of Haiti and and recognized their ambassador. He was the first president to host a dignitary of colour in the White House (such that it was). Jefferson by contrast could not see why Black slaves would revolt and and thought them incapable of creating their own country with their own laws. Throughout his presidency, he never recognized Haiti.

Regarding Adams and Native Americans: Well, Adams did grow up in Braintree and incidents like King Philip's War and the Bar's Fight were still fresh in many people's memories. I don't doubt that he may not have been their greatest friend but he also embraced the Native American allies of the patriots. In fact, he had dinner with the delegation that was present in Cambridge when Washington took over the army. His letter about it chronicled quite a positive experience.

Regarding this article: there were times where I think that it does not highlight his achievements enough. I don't know that Jefferson's is more balanced, I can say that Washington's is. I personally am not crazy about all of the programs developed by the History Channel and well, I had not seen it so I cannot comment as much about it.

A separate article on traits seems to be overkill.

The resources for the information that I referred to above came from David McCullough's John Adams and from the Adams Papers. Many of the letters have been published (this was a letter writing/journalling family-one of the few to leave behind so much first hand material) and they are housed at the Massachusetts Historical Society. You can get lost there. Ladydayelle 15:07, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Cabnit Control

"A note should be made on the above comment: Adams never had control of his cabinet because of their intense loyalty to the memory of Washington which they believed to be embodied in Hamilton, and at the start of the Presidency they threatened to walk out en masse on Adams if collaboration with Jefferson were actualized." It sound a little off that Adams cabnit beleived that Hamilton embodied Washington, and therefore did't want to colaborate with Jefferson. Washington spesificaly warned agains by partisain government in his farewell adress. Gregor Vincent 00:47, 15 August 2006 (UTC)


My recollection is that the statue is SAM Adams - see --JimWae 05:48, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Oops! Can you updated the image listing, and move it to the Sam Adams article, please? MamaGeek (talk/contrib) 14:07, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

There is a statue of John Adams in Quincy Center near the cemetary there.He was a worthy president of this country. Ladydayelle 14:41, 27 September 2006 (UTC)


If someone has a chance to go over this I saw some minor punctuation errors as reading, such as double periods and missing apostrophes. I'm not available to proof the whole argument at the moment, and just wanted to point it out. I'll try to swing by later and see if things still need fixing, but it might not be for a day or two. My username is Azdiur, but I'm on a public computer and prefer not to login to anything personal for security reasons. 18:24, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Also note that this article makes horrible use of passive voice and many other errors which are grammatically incorrect in standard English. Writing this poor should not be considered A-class. --Strothra 22:19, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

NPOV Check

Article needs to be checked for POV, it might make use of weasel words and other subjective items which are not cited. --Strothra 22:31, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I have now checked the article for POV and found none, so will remove the tag. People should have specify their complaints--if any. Rjensen 00:10, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
You are not an impartial third party. Please actually read the policy on WP:NPOV. The edit history makes clear what the dispute is. Further, you removed the {{POV-Check}} and thus a POV check is no longer sufficient as there is now a clear dispute. POV-Check cannot be used to resolve disputes. It can only be used when an article has had all POV disputes removed. It places the article in the POV-Check category in order to bring the article to the attention of third parties for a final check. --Strothra 00:23, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
We can't have a POV tag without specific issues---the discussion many months ago about religious beliefs I think has been resolved. There are no recent allegations of POV on this TALK page except about "weasel words" which have now been removed--so that solves Strotha's problem.. Rjensen 00:41, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes you can when the major bulk of the article is what is in dispute. The entire article needs its sensational language toned down. See WP:NPOVD for more information on how this process works. It's tagged in order to bring other editors into the dispute and get third opinions since you've clearly made it evident that you plan to edit war over specific removals. Opinions are being expressed as fact throughout this article. It's more analysis than it is fact. --Strothra 00:45, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Strotha has not found one single sentence to compain about. Try just one and maybe we can get somewhere. Rjensen 01:05, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm pointing to the entire article as POV. Once again, read the policy. This is perfectly legitimate. If you absolutely need someone to hold your hand, here are just a few examples: "Adams lacked the genius for popular leadership shown by his second cousin, Samuel Adams; instead, his influence emerged through his work as a constitutional lawyer and his intense analysis of historical examples" is a perfect example of POV. "Today, the Declaration of Independence is remembered as the great revolutionary act, but Adams and most of his contemporaries saw the Declaration as a mere formality" is another. A distinguished group of independent, virtuous gentlemen, as Adams put it, could adequately balance the passions of the people represented in the lower house of the legislature. Thoughts on Government's new rendition of the classical theory of mixed government was enormously influential and was referenced as an authority in every state-constitution writing hall. "Adams had completely missed this concept and revealed his continued attachment to the older version of politics" is a perfect example of sourced bias, but still bias. --Strothra 01:10, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Strotha disagrees with all of modern scholarship. The Job of Wiki is to reflect what scholars say, not suppress it. Every example he cites is the evaluation of scholars and are not at all controversial or POV. POV means disagreement among the experts when an article takes only one expert position. YThat has NOT happened here, and Strotha has yet to find a single expert who agres with his views. Take his first example, on "genius":
  1. A New History of the United States - Page 88 by William Miller - 1958 "A popular political genius like Sam Adams, the first great rabble-rouser"
  2. Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution - Page 44 by Natalie S. Bober - 1995 "Sam Adams, with his genius for agitation"
  3. Patriot's Choice: the story of John Hancock - Page 56 by Frederick Wagner - 1964 - "But behind the scenes Sam Adams was at work; his genius for politics and propaganda was beginning to mature."
  4. Foundations of American Journalism - Page 102 by Sidney Kobre 1958 "Sam Adams... first genius of propaganda."

Rjensen 01:16, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

It's not a rejection of scholarship. Just because historians draw the same conclusions does not mean that it is fact. An encyclopedia states what people did, it does not analyze what they did. All analysis is origional research (see WP:OR) which is forbidden on Wikipedia. According to the policy, anything which amounts to "novel narrative or historical interpretation" is forbidden. --Strothra 01:21, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Third opinion

All of the "problematic" sentences are sourced, and seem to reflect scholarly consensus. It is absolutely appropriate for an article for a historical figure to represent the point of view of historians studying that figure-WP:NPOV forbids insertion of the viewpoint of an editor, it does not forbid insertion of widespread historical consensus about a person. The burden of verifiability initially lies with an editor who wishes to include information-however, that has been satisfied here. The burden is now on Strothra to demonstrate that this view is not a consensus among historians, and to source this assertion appropriately. Accordingly, I'm going to remove the tag-I don't see a bit of editorializing or POV here. Seraphimblade 01:28, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm not arguing that the scholars are incorrect. What I am arguing is that the language is not encyclopedic and adding the bias of the authors. It is an analysis of history as opposed to a presentation of it. For instance, in the sentance, "Adams often found his inborn contentiousness to be a handicap in his political career, for example, during his term as president when he lost control of his own cabinet and his Federalist party." The example being given is cited but the claim that Adams actually believed that his contentiousness was a handicap is not cited because it's not even cited in the work. It's a judgement which is not provable. Again, it's historical interpretation, nothing more. --Strothra 01:31, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
So long as the historical analysis or interpretation has consensus among historians, it is perfectly appropriate here. Your distinction between "presentation of history" and "analysis/interpretation of history" is not encoded anywhere in Wikipedia policy or guidelines. Simões (talk/contribs) 01:38, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
If your issue is simply with the specific language, and you feel it could be done better, be bold and edit away! Seraphimblade 01:54, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Third opinion

Aargh. Another 3rd opinion discussion appeared while I was writing this. For what it's worth, here are my thoughts:

  • A POV Check tag should not be placed in the article without a corresponding note in the talk page about specific things that are considered violations of WP:NPOV.
  • If nothing in the talk page is listed, at least {{fact}} tags should be placed on questionable uncited sentences that promote a particular POV.
  • On the other hand, presenting the points of view of verifiable, reliable, and/or respected sources, with appropriate citations, do not warrant a POV Check. Care must be taken to quote these POV sentences appropriately, giving proper attribution, to avoid any hint of plagiarism or copyright violation. Of the specific examples Strotha mentioned above, I see what appears to be paraphrasing of cited sources, with wording perhaps a little too close to the original. Suggested fixes:
    • "lacked the genius" - change to "lacked the same talent"
    • "intense analysis" - change to "thorough analysis"
    • "the great revolutionary act" - change to "a significant revolutionary act"
    • "mere formality" is probably okay if the cited source agrees
  • Finally, while sourced bias is indeed still bias, the cure for it is not to slap a POV check tag on the article, but to find alternative notable sources that present an alternative point of view. If none can be found, then the "sourced bias" probably isn't bias at all, but rather truth as accepted by experts in the field.
  • I recommend removing the POV check tag, while at the same time rewording anything that seems sensationalist and unsourced. -Amatulic 01:39, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree to those suggestions and with your determination that the text seems to be a paraphrasing. --Strothra 01:40, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
I'll chuck in my fifth opinion, too: While you are correct that encyclopaedias do not analyse things, they may report analysis performed by others, as long as it is verifiable, not original research and ideally presented in a neutral manner. I'm afraid to say, however, that the article does not do that. For instance in 2.1:
"Adams defense of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre of 1770 was a masterpiece of politics and legal defense."
should be improved by saying who thought it was a masterpiece of politics and legal defence, so that the reader can evaluate the reliability of the source and hence how close to the truth it is likely to be. Ideally, a counterposition should also be presented. It should end up something like this:
"Adams' defence of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre of 1770 was described by Joe Bloggs in his biography of Adams as 'a masterpiece of politics and legal defence', while Effie Mctumshie in her Study of Famous American Lawyers considered it almost traitorous to defend British soldiers."
Note that I'm pulling rubbish out a hat - I don't know the first thing about the Boston Massacre or John Adams; the real thing would need to be properly sourced and cited, but you get the idea. This isn't the only instance, though. There's plenty more in the article, and it wholly deserves the NPOV tag. --Scott Wilson 01:43, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
I completely agree that encyclopedias present the analysis which has been given to the topic, however, they do not take on the voice of the analysis. That's my problem here. It's not saying, "Historians believe..." it's saying that this is fact. There is no such thing as fact in history. Evidence is uncovered all the time, evidence is destroyed all the time and so we may never have a complete and perfect picture. This is why historians can only believe something, they cannot know it. Thus an encyclopedia does not take on the voice of the historian. --Strothra 01:46, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
By this standard, every single sentence in a history article should begin with "Historians believe..." Sorry, but this just isn't going to fly. Your complaints have no basis in Wikipedia policy. Simões (talk/contribs) 01:55, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Wiki's goal is to reflect the best scholarship. Strotha should read some of it--I recommend starting with Ferling's fine biography. Attacking or ignoring the work of hundreds of dedicated scholars will not build up Wiki. Rjensen 01:51, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
However, Strotha does have a point. Objecting to the way this article presents a scholar's opinion doesn't equate to "attacking" or "ignoring" a scholarly work. Where POV language exists, attribution should be given to the scholar in such a way that it's clear the POV presented is the scholar's POV, not Wikipedia's. Either that, or the language should be adjusted to be more neutral. The contention arising from the specific examples presented (so far) can be fixed easily with some minor changes in wording, some of which I suggested above. -Amatulic 01:59, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Exactly my point, I'm glad that we're getting to a concensus. It's not that I want the info removed entirely, but worded in a manner in which Wiki is not adopting the POV of the authors. --Strothra 02:02, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
When the POV is (apparently) undisputed and explicitly cited, it is not such a problem. For example, the "masterpiece" sentence has an explicit inline citation, so it is clear where the opinion came from. NPOV stands for neutral POV, not no POV. If you feel that the opinions expressed are disputed, you should provide sources that dispute them. If the views are universal among published sources, they represent a neutral point of view for WP purposes. CMummert 02:07, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

For my part, there is a dispute; and such tags should generally be removed by the party who disputed the neutrality, not one of the authors of the disputed text. It is conventional to view Sam Adams as a gifted rabble-rouser; but tendentious words like "genius" should be avoided, if only not to alarm readers expecting neutrality.

As for Rjensen's assurances of a consensus of historians: I have seen these before. Invariably, I have found that the historians in question held more measured views also, which Rjensen had omitted. I would be quite struck (and, on the whole, pleased) to find this time an exception. Septentrionalis 16:57, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Anyone can discover the consensus of historians--just read the reviews published in major journals (William and Mary Q, J Early Republic, J American Hist, Reviews in Am. Hist, & Am Hist Rev.). Rjensen 07:57, 4 December 2006 (UTC)


his influence emerged through ...his intense analysis of historical examples

This particular claim requires verification (the section of the sentence about constitutional law is not a problem). Whom did the Discources on Davila influence? and what is the source for this? Septentrionalis 17:04, 1 December 2006 (UTC)


I'm working on a cricket article and looking for a source to quote for Adams's view that since cricket club leaders could be called presidents, so could the head of the republic. I seem to remember it in McCullough's book, but that was a library book that I don't have handy. Can anyone site a reference for me? Thanks.--Eva bd 14:14, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

No comers yet?--Eva bd 00:14, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Edit Protect

Anyone else think this page should be sem-protected to keep IP users from editting. It seems to be a magnet for vandalism Black Harry (T|C) 01:53, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, has been pretty bad for a while. You can request semi-protection at WP:RFPP and an admin will take care of it when they have a chance. Just follow the directions to request semi-protection and explain that there's been a lot of IP vandalism recently. —Krellis (Talk) 02:18, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, I just requested semi-protection. wish us luck Black Harry (T|C) 02:29, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Boston Massacre

I get the impression there might have been an edit war about Adams's defense of the soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre -- is that right? Whatever the explanation, the current text is ludicrous. For this pivotal 1770 event, the article's section is titled "Boston Massacre: 1772", and it goes on to discuss a completely unrelated issue. There's not one word about what Adams saw as one of the most important achievements of his career, or about how the acquittal he obtained for the soldiers convinced many fair-minded people in England that the colonists were not an anarchic rabble.

In a quick skim through earlier versions, I didn't find more than a one-sentence discussion of this incident. What's going on here? JamesMLane t c 02:22, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Agreed; it should have 1770, and link to the Boston Massacre page (does anyone have a date for the trial?). PS: The regiment involved got the nickname “the vein openers” for drawing first blood! NB: its page 29th Regiment of Foot has the year as 1768! Hugo999 12:05, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Actually it says they arrived in Boston in 1768, not that the Boston Massacre took place in 1768.Marc29th 18:48, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Also, there were three people killed at the Boston Massacre, and two mortally wounded. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shelbaroonian (talkcontribs) 20:22, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

More vandalism?

Note "sweared" in opening line of section: "Opponent of Stamp Act 1765" JEH 23:08, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Yet more vandalism

User: inserted this phrase into the first paragraph: "Adams was considered a shoe in for the second president because he had homosexual relations with previous president George Washington, thus giving him power and stability as the nation's leader."

I have edited it out.

I suggest that an administrator ban this user. Considering how often this article has been vandalized, it may regrettably be necessary to lock the article.

So what's the deal with Adams, anyway? I would not have thought him so prominent that his article would attract this kind of nonsense. Gives Wikipedia a bad name, as already was pointed out. 18:56, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Has the IP been warned before? --myselfalso 18:59, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
I find it strange also. But I guess all of our founding fathers are controversial figures, ultimately. nut-meg 04:32, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Update, July 31, 2007. Sorry to post here. I can't figure out how to put up a new post. I just corrected a bunch of errors, such as Harvard had no specialties for students in the 1750s, the first Adams came to America in the 1630s not the 1690s, the Boston Massacre was in 1770, not 1772. I also added a bunch of quotes from Adams' writings. Someone has complained about my edits. But they are all verifiable. I also cut a paragraph that reflected older rather than newer scholarship on the American revolution. I'm new to this medium. Is that not how to do it? posted by Rickersam.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Rickersam (talkcontribs)

Your edits were good ones - I see no problems. --Strothra 01:50, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Thank you. Someone wrote me a "talk" to complain. Unfortunately, I don't know how to reply. Rickersam

Technically, nothing you have corrected is false. In fact, it's common knowledge to anyone with a detailed understanding of the period. Other editors who would like certain information to be cited need to place the {{cn}} after the material they are contesting. --Strothra 02:01, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
Okay, okay, i'm sorry. It just seemed like misinformation to me. Angelofsadness must have agreed as well becaus ehe reverted your edits too.Silver seren 02:15, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
Hey, it's not an attack against you. I totally understand how that could be perceived. He's a new editor and there are far too many new accounts that vandalize. I think that your vigilance is a good thing. Also, I do think that the material could use citations, but just also doesn't merit removal. --Strothra 02:18, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
I kinda get into a stop vandalism spree sometimes, especially when i'm looking through the new user contributions list. They annoy me badly. -_- So, anyways...sorry, Rickersam! Silver seren 02:29, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

No big deal. What citations would you like? I added footnotes for all the quotes. Facts which are in every Adams biograpy I didn't think it necessary to note. I'll see what I can do. Rickersam

Symbolic "one guinea"

I'm absolutely sure that John Adams received not one guinea, but eighteen, for his defense of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre of 1770. I know this because David McCullough states explicitly that "it was rumored that he had been bribed to take the case. In reality, a retainer of eighteen guineas was the only payment he would receive." Should I change it? or is there some vital detail I'm missing here?

One guinea per defendant, perhaps? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:35, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Adam's own diary (quoted in the Boston Massacre article) states that he received ten from Preston and eight from the other soldiers. I'll change the article, but note the existence of the other version of the story. (talk) 03:27, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Quotes in lead

I have trimmed the following paragraph. I really don't think we need to have random quotes on Adams' greatness; it's neither neutral nor convincing. But the quotes may have their place in a section on later evaluations of Adams, so I bring them here:

Adams was a sponsor of the American Revolution in Massachusetts, and a diplomat and a rebel in the 1770s. He was a driving force for independence in 1776; in fact, he was the "Colossus of Independence" in Jefferson's understanding. As a statesman and author, he helped define a set of core republican ideals that became central to America's political value system: the rejection of hereditary monarchy in favor of rule by the people, hatred of corruption, and devotion to civic duty. As President, he was frustrated by battles inside his own Federalist party against a faction led by Alexander Hamilton, but he broke with them to avert a major conflict with France in 1798, during the Quasi-War crisis. He became the founder of an important family of politicians, diplomats and historians, and in recent years his reputation has been good. Historian Robert Rutland concluded, "Madison was the great intellectual ... Jefferson the ... unquenchable idealist, and Franklin the most charming and versatile genius... but Adams is the most captivating founding father on most counts."<:ref>Ellis (1993) p 230</ref> Adams is also among the giants of American constitutional thought. British political scientist Harold Laski, for example, called him “the greatest political thinker whom America has yet produced.”<:ref>Zoltan Haraszti, John Adams and the Prophets of Progress, p. 46.</ref>

Regards, Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:40, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Early life omission

I seems a few words have been left out of the first sentence of the early life section, after most. "John Adams was the oldest and one of the most of three brothers, born..." Good job on the article75.68.192.62 (talk) 06:19, 27 November 2007 (UTC) ertr —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:01, 11 December 2007 (UTC)