Talk:John Adams/Archive 3

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headline about John Adams

John Adams, (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American politician and the second President of the United States (1797–1801), after being the first Vice President (1789–1797) for two terms.

Adams came to prominence in the early stages of the American Revolution. As a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, he played a leading role in persuading Congress to adopt the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776. As a representative of Congress in Europe, he was a major negotiator of the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain, and chiefly responsible for obtaining important loans from Amsterdam.

Adams' revolutionary credentials secured him two terms as George Washington's vice president and his own election as the second president of the United States. During his one term as president, he was frustrated by battles inside his own Federalist party (by a faction led by Alexander Hamilton) and the newly emergent bi-partisan disagreements with Jeffersonian Republicans. During his term he also signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts. The major accomplishment of his presidency was his peaceful resolution of the Quasi-War crisis with France in 1798.

After Adams was defeated for reelection by Thomas Jefferson (at the time, Adams' vice-president), he retired to Massachusetts. He and his wife Abigail Adams founded an accomplished family line of politicians, diplomats, and historians now referred to as the Adams political family. Adams was the father of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. His achievements have received greater recognition in modern times, though his contributions were not initially as celebrated as those of other Founders

John Adams, (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American politician and the second President of the United States (1797–1801), after being the first Vice President (1789–1797) for two terms. He is regarded as one of the most influential Founding Fathers of the United States.

Adams came to prominence in the early stages of the American Revolution. As a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, he played a leading role in persuading Congress to adopt the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776. As a representative of Congress in Europe, he was a major negotiator of the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain, and chiefly responsible for obtaining important loans from Amsterdam.

Adams' revolutionary credentials secured him two terms as George Washington's vice president and his own election as the second president of the United States. During his one term as president, he was frustrated by battles inside his own Federalist party (by a faction led by Alexander Hamilton) and the newly emergent bi-partisan disagreements with Jeffersonian Republicans. During his term he also signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts. The major accomplishment of his presidency was his peaceful resolution of the Quasi-War crisis with France in 1798.

After Adams was defeated for reelection by Thomas Jefferson (at the time, Adams' vice-president), he retired to Massachusetts. He and his wife Abigail Adams founded an accomplished family line of politicians, diplomats, and historians now referred to as the Adams political family. Adams was the father of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. His achievements have received greater recognition in modern times, though his contributions were not initially as celebrated as those of other Founders kids remember that wikipedia is an awful site! will anderson rocks!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Interesting additional fact

Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson - the only two Presidents to actually sign the Declaration of Independence - died on exactly the same day. It was 4 July 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing.

The article claims that John Adams was paid 18 guineas, the value of "a pair of shoes" - this is surely a gross underestimate, and must surely mean to say 18 guineas total = (perhaps somewhat more than) the price of a pair of shoes PER SOLDIER. I sketch the boring details below.

A guinea was 1 pound 1 shilling - working with Massachusetts currency (and it's even more true if it was British currency), the article here [1] puts the exchange rate at about 1.3 Massachusetts pounds (1770) to one pound sterling (1770), which relative to British prices over time would be worth 63.90 pounds in 2005 (according to the or at least around there in ordinary purchasing power. The result is about a thousand pounds in today's terms... more than ten times the current price of an ordinary new pair of shoes (and the conversion was done by purchasing power, supposedly) - there were 8 soldiers, so that comes out to around the same order of magnitude PER SOLDIER. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:04, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

The statement is sourced to a book, so if you're correct, either the book is wrong or the book doesn't support the statement. If you meticulously go through the history of the article, you should be able to find whether the part about the shoes was added along with the source or separately, which might be a clue. I don't really think the shoe comparison is very helpful for today's readers, though. Rivertorch (talk) 17:21, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
I too was taken aback by that statement. It is wholly unhelpful and misleading. It may possibly be that Adams or some other American colonist did spend 18 guineas on a pair of shoes, and they must have been expensive imports, with silver buckles and other decoration. But I doubt it. More likely that sum would fit a gentleman out with an entire wardrobe - I cannot find the price of a pair of quality shoes at that period but a suit of clothing for a respectable man seems to have been less than five guineas. I have checked various sources on comparative purchasing power and the Bank of England calculator gives a value of £2681 at 2010 prices, or around US$4000. I am sure that it would be possible to find an American who has paid that much for shoes today, but we would hardly take that as a useful indication of the value of money. Just because a source is given, if it is plainly wrong or unhelpful we should not use it. It just gives WP a bad name.--AJHingston (talk) 01:23, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Jefferson Survives

It would be good to note that Adams's last reported words about Thomas Jefferson were not in fact accurate: Jefferson had died a few hours before. This is one of the more memorable bits of history about Adams. Phenylphenol (talk) 16:18, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Religious views: two issues

The article cites two Ph.D. dissertations—footnotes 108 and 109/109 (the second one twice)—and quotes their authors without explaining who they are or why they should be considered authorities on the subject. I question the reliability<relative reliability of those sources and am tagging them.

I also question the recent edit that served to downplay Adams's Unitarian affiliation, relegating it to the second paragraph where it's described as the argument of one writer—a possible violation of WP:DUE, given that a large number of mainstream reference and academic sources, including this one (used to source Religious affiliations of Presidents of the United States), list Adams as Unitarian.

Thought I'd bring this up here before being bold because I haven't been paying close attention to the article and am not an expert on Adams or early American history. Rivertorch (talk) 07:46, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

WP rules (WP:RS explictly include finished PhD dissertations as reliable sources. ("Completed dissertations or theses written as part of the requirements for a PhD, and which are publicly available, are considered publications by scholars and are routinely cited in footnotes. They have been vetted by the scholarly community....") Is there some reason to challenge their validity? To do so violated the wp:BLP rule concerning disparaging remarks about a living person. (It is highly damaging to a scholar's career to disparage his PhD dissertation). Rjensen (talk) 08:01, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
That's a novel reading of WP:BLP, as far as I can tell. I disparaged no one's dissertation, and it is hardly a violation of policy to place a tag reading [unreliable source?] in an article. The tag asks a question (note its question mark), which you have answered. Thank you for your answer. What you might have added was that you personally added the wording to the guideline WP:RS. Since your addition has faced neither reversion nor serious challenge in two years, it is now an established part of WP:RS—a change I should have noticed. Mea culpa. In any event, I think the section is a bit of a mess. Part of its problem is that it fails to make clear (at least without a close reading of the footnotes) who claimed what about Adams, when they claimed it, and with what credentials; recent claims from Pulitzer-winning biographers rub shoulders with those from newly-minted Ph.D.s and pre-WWII scholarship. That two sources meet WP:RS doesn't make them equally reliable, after all, and it occurs to me that particular care should be taken to ensure that content related to topics which spark significant controversy in popular discourse be especially well-sourced and presented with due weight.
Do you—or perhaps someone else—have an opinion on my question re Unitarianism? Rivertorch (talk) 09:44, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Challenging a dissertation as an unreliable source is disparaging a scholar. "Has he stopped beating his wife?" is the same sort of pseudo "question" but it is clearly a negative commentary on a living person (and that is tightly restricted). As for the quality of the sources, an editor really ought to read them before making a challenge. Religion and theology are technical issues of the sort better analyzed in depth by 300 page PhD dissertations at leading universities than in a paragraph in a popular book.Rjensen (talk) 10:07, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh dear. A question isn't the same thing as a comment, a contextual challenge to a sourced sentence isn't an impugnment of the source, and a maintenance tag placed due to a good-faith concern and in ignorance of a change in guideline wording isn't a policy violation. And the "beating his wife" thing is an entirely false analogy, as a moment's careful thought surely would reveal. Regarding what you say about religion and theology, I might agree with what you say when I consider your words at face value, but they seem to carry (based on your imaginative use of the word) a faint whiff of disparagement of one of the article's sources. Perhaps the guideline should deprecate scholars who write "popular" books instead of "300 page [sic] PhD dissertations"? ;) Come on. If you really think editors should read a doctoral dissertation before daring to sully its purity with a tags, there's a better place to propose that. I doubt it will gain traction, but my prescience has been on the wane around here just lately. (If you piggyback it on a resolution endorsing BLP-violation witch-hunts, you'll undoubtedly get quite a few 'support' !votes.) Rivertorch (talk) 11:26, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
As to Adams' religion. Most scholars say he was a Congregationalist of the Unitarian faction (they had not separated yet). That is not controversial. What is more interesting: was he a deist as well? I think the consensus of serious scholarship is that he used Deist terms (like "providence") but rejected the usual Deist notion that God did not intervene in human affairs. The paragraph makes this point--all the scholars cited are in agreement. Occasionally you find popular sources that include Adams in a list of deists, with no analysis. Thus Self (2009) says: "The claim will be made that George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, as well as many others, were all deists." But that's superficial. Rjensen (talk) 10:22, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Genuinely interesting, but it doesn't begin to address my concern. Rivertorch (talk)
What is this nonsense about questioning the reliability of a dissertation counts as violation of WP:BLP? You are utterly incorrect. We are allowed to challenge the reliability of any source and Rivertorch raised a valid question that, as far as I can see, you have yet to answer. Just because someone wrote a dissertation on a subject does not mean that they count as an authority on the subject. A paper written by someone who is distinctly an authority in the relations of religion and theology would be far more reliable than this PhD dissertation. The whole question is, are these authors qualified writers on the subject of religion and theology? Have they been published in the field before and are considered an authority within the field in general? If they are just some random person who wrote their PhD dissertation on the subject, they would most certainly have questionable reliability. SilverserenC 10:48, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
the Wiki rules on BLP are very strict-- they require for example very good sourcing for disparaging statements, and no sourcing whatsoever was provided here. Wiki RS rules also explicitly state that PhD dissertations are valid RS, and Rivertorch, without looking at the two dissertations, assumed all dissertations are invalid sources. He since realizes his mistake. You get to be an authority on theology by writing a PhD dissertation that is accepted by the faculty of a leading PhD school, as was the case here. It means that multiple serious scholars have approved your work. Note that the article itself has no conflicts--all the authorities are in broad agreement and Rivertorch failed to find any RS that disagrees with the multiple scholars cited there. Note that Philip Goff wrote one of the dissertations--he is Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs at Indiana U-Indianapolis,the Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture (a prominent national center for religious studies) and Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies. He has published widely and is a leading scholar. The other one, Gregg L. Frazer, is a full professor now and has published his work with a leading university press: The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders: Reason, Revelation, Revolution (University Press of Kansas, to appear May 2012). Mark Noll, a famous scholar, says the book is "Sophisticated, well-documented, and forcefully argued....readers should come away much better informed about the past and also much better situated to adjudicate religious-political debates today." To my knowledge no one has challenged their scholarship. Rjensen (talk) 21:04, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
See, that info is all we needed to know that they are reliable and you could have said that in the first place. Though you are still utterly, utterly wrong about BLP policy. For disparaging statements within an article text, they have to be really well sourced. This has absolutely nothing to do with questioning the reliability with sources and I am absolutely horrified that someone with 50,000 edits actually thinks that, because it is so very wrong. SilverserenC 22:08, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
Furthermore, please stop putting words in other people's mouths. Rivertorch never said that all PhD dissertations are unreliable, he said that there was no indication that the authors of these two dissertations are authorities on the subject they are commenting on. SilverserenC 22:10, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
If Wiki said "athlete XYZ" set the record in 2003, and an editor adds, "did he use steroids?", with zero evidence of steroid use, that's a disparaging comment about XYZ even though phrased as a question. It' a violation of BLP. To ask whether a person's PhD dissertation is a "unreliable source" is exactly the same. Rjensen (talk) 23:42, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
It is not whatsoever. We are allowed to question the reliability of any source that we use in the encyclopedia. THat's the whole point of the unreliable source tag in the first place. SilverserenC 00:33, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
BLP discussion. SilverserenC 01:10, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
the very strict wp:BLP rules trump all other guidelines. Rjensen (talk) 02:35, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
Except you're using BLP wrong. Very, very wrong. SilverserenC 06:48, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I read the BLP as a VERY strong rule--one that over-rides anything else. It says that if Wiki text is in any way derogatory regarding a living person it needs STRONG proof or should be immediately erased. Challenging a a person's PhD thesis as unreliable[unreliable source?] is highly derogatory in the academic world, which depends heavily on the PhD to validate candidates for jobs. Wiki's rule stresses: Material that may adversely affect a person's reputation should be treated with special care Rjensen (talk) 07:43, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
That's not how it works. There is a difference between article text and...well, everything else, and you seem to be conflating the two. That sentence you quoted is referring to text within an article about a subject. It refers to making sure that you have strong sourcing for any negative statements about a living person and to make sure the negative statements are being used with the due weight required for the amount of sources on the specific criticism. This, however, has nothing to do with article text or a BLP in an article. This has to do with questioning whether a specific source used in an article is high enough quality of sourcing to be proper for the information it is being used to source. We question sources all the time. Your explanations about the author's above is enough info to show that they are experts in the field and reliable for the information they are commenting on. However, questioning whether they were experts, since we didn't know before who they were, and therefore questioning the quality of their dissertations as a source does not violate BLP whatsoever. This is the point that you need to understand, the difference between the BLP policy and questioning reliability. Questioning the reliability of a source is never going to violate BLP. SilverserenC 08:39, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I argue that when you use Wikipedia to damage a person's reputation that violates the BLP rules. The rule says that the violation can occur anywhere. It says Material that may adversely affect a person's reputation should be treated with special care. It does not allow loopholes. In this case, there was no special care whatever--instead very careless use of tags that 30 seconds of googling the names would show was false. Rjensen (talk) 09:44, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Will this argument ever shut up...ok. (talk) 21:37, 20 February 2012

disentanglment or disentanglement

Under the section "Presidency: 1797–1801" we can find the next sentence: The Quasi-War with France resulted in the disentanglment... wouldn't it be better disentanglement? As it's blocked I can correct it myself. ondo segi! Drpolilla (talk) 16:29, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

 Done - thanks for spotting the typo.--JayJasper (talk) 18:10, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 1 July 2012

There is a spelling mistake on the page. Relied should be Replied.

It's around the quote given about Adams' American heritage.

Stunsail (talk) 20:49, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Which section and paragraph?--JOJ Hutton 20:50, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Fixed. Thank you for catching that. -- JoannaSerah (talk) 22:44, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Grammatical errors

Please correct the grammatical errors. The possessive of Adams is Adams' not Adams's. Thanks.. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:39, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

 Done - thanks for calling attention to the errors.--JayJasper (talk) 15:02, 5 July 2012 (UTC)



I'm not exactly sure whether this part is a grammatical error or not, but it just sounds odd reading it. (This is from the first section of the article.)

"John Adams was the eldest of three sons, was born on October 30, 1735"

Shouldn't it instead be:

"John Adams, the eldest of three sons, was born on October 30, 1735"?

If I'm wrong, please correct me. I wouldn't want to make any future mistakes. -Biocryptid21 (talkcontribs)

You're right. The "was" is redundant there. Thank you for catching that. Corrected now. -- JoannaSerah (talk) 22:57, 5 September 2012 (UTC)


Indeed we have attempts by genealogists to link General Lincoln to Abraham Lincoln. In Wikipedia. Answer: they are 6th cousins or something. But most people in rural areas are sixth cousins, several times over, in fact. Hard to avoid, actually. Conveys no useful information. "The Smiths of Smithville" is not really valuable, particularly when there is no article on them, or worse, there is one, but they are only notable for one person and being related to each other!

Disclosure: I have done a lot of genealogy. It is overwhelmed with pretentions from the 19th century mostly and sometimes wishful thinking from moderns. 80% of most English (which includes many Americans) are descended from Edward II. Because it is so common, one must ask "so what" and omit this "information" for most people.

Insert -- nobody is proposing mention of any Adams descent from Edward II, and there is simply no dispute in reliable sources about John Adams' immediate descent from the Boylestons (his mother's family).--Other Choices (talk) 12:45, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Genealogy is interesting only when it means something. It does mean something that John Quincy Adams was the son of John Adams. And maybe related to the Quincys. The Boyles of Boyleston is not worth noting.Student7 (talk) 14:40, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

I suppose if you go by a pseudonym that ancestry and family do not seem to matter. It did matter to the Adams family, especially to John. the Boylsetons were probably the leading medical family in the colony and he was very proud to have that connection (Abigail also was also a Boylston). see the argument in Paul C. Nagel (1999). John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life. Harvard U.P. pp. 5–6.  Rjensen (talk) 15:24, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Still, no article on Boylstons per se. Not exactly the House of Medici. Maybe the Category:Quincy family fit that picture. Anyway, with so few people, "prominent" medical family may mean "one of the few" medical families. At at time, incidentally, when doctors were largely considered quacks. That didn't change until the 19th century in America, and rather late at that. Didn't see connection in Abigail's article except for naming kids.
In his Mom's bio, called the "least mentioned" of anyone in the Adams family, probably illiterate, and bad-tempered. Hurray for the "prominent" Boylstons? Hmmm... Student7 (talk) 01:07, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
the Adams family is close to the top of he list of American families. Doctors as quacks--indeed, who do you suppose changed that reputation? (ans: the Boston medical community working through the Boylston Medical Society and the Boylston Medical Library--now the Harvard U Medical Library). or the history of the first smallpox innoculation (see Zabdiel Boylston, 1721--Aylmer Von Fleischer says he later "became America's leading physician"). or the Boylston Anatomical Museum of Harvard; or the Boylston prize medals for the best MD at Harvard. Whatever happened to the Medici Medical School, by the way? Rjensen (talk) 01:28, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Fundamentally, the argument which opened this section, has been 'it's not important because the user does not think it is important.' 1)I hope no-one actually edits an article for that reason, although they, sadly do, it has nothing to do with article content; 2) It's not an argument that is actually going to convince. Really, address reliable sources (or don't bring it up) whatever, it is. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:07, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Taken from HBO mini-series

In the first year of Washington's administration, Adams became deeply involved in a month-long Senate controversy over the official title of the President. Adams favored grandiose titles such as "His Majesty the President" or "His High Mightiness" over the simple "President of the United States" that eventually won the debate. The pomposity of his stance, along with his being overweight, led to Adams earning the nickname "His Rotundity."

Would like to see references here. Otherwise I'm inclined to think that it appears simply because these are titles/nicknames mentioned in the HBO mini-series, which is obv. NOT a reliable source.Stealstrash (talk) 05:45, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

HBO is popular history but it's pretty accurate on the presidents. Gordon Wood says, "Led by Vice President Adams, the Senate debated for a month in 1789 the proper title for the president. He could ... himself had initially favored for a title "His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of Their Liberties." Anyway it's so easy to check it out: see Google for a quick overview and many many referencesRjensen (talk) 05:52, 29 November 2012 (UTC)


One branch of Adams' family tree stops with John Bass and Ruth Alden. Ruth Alden's parents were John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, from the Mayflower. [2] I would make the change, but the table looks very intimidating, and I'm afraid I would mess it up. Thanks. Scrapbkn (talk) 19:36, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

John Adams was not a promoter of Republicanism!

I just read biography of John Adams by David Mccullough and according to him, John Adams was not a promoter of "republicanism" as this article states. He was a a promoter of "federalism" and believed on a strong central government. He repeatedly clashed with Thomas Jefferson who, in turn, advocated ideas of a republic attempting to draw a stark contrast with the Great Britain's form of government as monarchy. It was Jefferson, therefore, not Adams, who believed in "republicanism". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mikra (talkcontribs) 11:52, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Better read up on Republicanism in the United States as a philosophy (rather than the name of Jefferson's party). "The Spirit of the People, among whom I had my Birth and Education . . . was always republican," Adams wrote. [Ferling, John Adams: A Life Page 156]; Diggins said he was "the last voice of classical republicanism" John P. Diggins (2003). John Adams. Macmillan. p. 10. . See also Joseph J. Ellis (2001). Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams. W. W. Norton. p. 86. . All McC meant is that Adams was a leader of the Federalist Party and opposed Jefferson's Republican party. Rjensen (talk) 14:02, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Rjensen is correct. The sources show Adams certainly thought of himself as promoting republicanism, and worked tirelessly to overthrow the British monarchy; he was accused by his party opponents of being "monarchical" but he was a republican in the political sense (as opposed to party invective). Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:39, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Adams and many (if not most or all) of his fellow founders were proponents of republcanism as defined by Cicero and Polybius -- "mixed government" combining democratic, aristocratic, and monarchic elements. This type of political philosophy was ubiquitous at the place and time.--Other Choices (talk) 05:26, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
I agree, President John Adams was not a member of the Republican't party. He was a FEDERALIST!!! The Republican's only go back to 1856AD.Magnum Serpentine (talk) 21:33, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
Jefferson and Madison around 1793founded a political party that they and everyone else called the Republican Party. The modern GOP that we have today was named after the Jeffersonian party. Rjensen (talk) 18:58, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Adams as a Monarchist

Shouldn't this article discuss the accusations of Adams being a monarchist which he faced throughout his career, as well as his actual views on the issue which (despite his denials) suggest some truth to the allegations e.g. his expressed sympathies for hereditary forms of government. For instance, according to the senate historical office, "the election confirmed his fear that popular elections in 'a populous, oppulent, and commercial nation' would eventually lead to 'corruption Sedition and civil war.' The remedies he suggested—a hereditary senate and an executive appointed for life—prompted charges by his opponents that the vice president [Adams] was the 'monarchist' enemy of republican government and popular liberties." [3] LoveIsGrue (talk) 02:43, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

How does that make him a monarchist, as opposed to a conservative republican (political theory), see also Thoughts on Government, but yes, he like the rest of the political class talked about ideas for a non-monarchist system (that they all wanted to promote both liberty and stability) that did not exist anywhere else in the world. Although, he at one time proposed the hereditary senate, in his farewell address, as Vice President to the Senate (1796), he rejected the idea. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:33, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your response. It looks like there are a few separate points which are at issue:
(1) Was Adams dogged by "accusations" of being a monarchist: See the historical office quote above, or this pbs reference which mentions "the pro-monarchy charges that always dogged Adams".[4]
(2) Did he express support for hereditarian forms of government: It sounds like we agree that at times during his life Adams did in fact express such ideas, which is surely worthy of discussion in the article, even if his views on the matter shifted throughout his life.
(3) Were the monarchist accusations spurious or did he in fact have such leanings: The senate historical reference above mentions his support for "a hereditary executive" and an "executive appointed for life"; also, Adams indicated that "I do not 'consider hereditary monarchy or aristocracy as rebellion against nature.' On the contrary I esteem them both institutions...", as "[t]he only institutions that can possibly preserve the laws and liberties of the people".[5] So while he likely did not support "absolute" monarchy, it does seem that at times he advocated for constitutional or limited forms of monarchy, suggesting some truth to the "monarchist" allegations.
LoveIsGrue (talk) 22:48, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
In my opinion the Senate page is poor quality as compared to the many good scholarly studies. The allegations all come down to Jefferson & Madison, which Ellis dismisses as a gross exaggeration for political purposes [Founding Brothers 195-99] Rjensen (talk) 22:55, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Should I take that to mean that you agree with points 1 and 2 (just not 3), and would be OK with dicussion of those first two issues being added to the Adams article? Regarding point 3, you mention that the allegations all come down to jefferson&madison, but the quote I referenced above regarding the benefits of "hereditary monarchy" was from Adam's own letters (available online at the link above)? Also, regarding the senate historical office being "poor quality", is there a particular claim they are making that is not factual or that is contradicted by Founding Brothers?
LoveIsGrue (talk) 23:38, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
yes he was dogged by accusations of monarchism (it was a political tactic by Jefferson & Madison) but 21st century histordo not agree with (2) -- ie they were spurious but based on Adams' speculations and he never seriously advocated anything resembling monarchy--for example when he wrote the Massachusetts state constitution. Jefferson's big problem was really his support for Britain and opposition to France. Madison thought he was a "traitor" to republicanism [Ellis Brothers p 197] but Adams today is something of a major hero.Rjensen (talk) 23:47, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't mean to be contentious, but it seems that you have not responded to the direct Adams quote provided above (referenced from his letters) regarding "hereditary monarchy or aristocracy" being "[t]he only institutions that can possibly preserve the laws and liberties of the people."? Also, regarding point 2, here is another relevant Adams quote (from Discourses on Davilla): "Shall the whole nation vote for senators? Thirty millions of votes, for example, for each senator in France! It is obvious that this would be a lottery of millions of blanks to one prize, and that the chance of having wisdom and integrity in a senator by hereditary descent would be far better."[6] He certainly seems to express substantial sympathy for hereditary systems in these quotes, and though there is room to debate the wording/interpretation, my sense is that some discussion of these hereditarian sentiments should be reflected in the article.
LoveIsGrue (talk) 00:31, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
that was all speculation (about the distant future in the US in the 1st quote & the 2nd quote is about Europe; he opposed voting for Senators as did most everyone before the 20th century). he never proposed any hereditary system whatever for the US. The problem was that for Jefferson and Madison ANY support for England = support for monarchy. Historians strongly reject that notion and currently favor Adams as more realistic. The Jeffersonians said he proposed to be king and have his son succeed him as king. Adams replied: " I am a mortal and irreconcileable enemy to Monarchy.... I am no Friend to hereditary limited Monarchy in America." ... " I deny an “attachment to monarchy,” from David McCullough (2008). John Adams. p. 410.  how clear can he be? Rjensen (talk) 01:46, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
You suggest that the first quote was "all speculation...about the distant future"; however, he is not merely speculating about what might happen in the future, he is defending "hereditary monarchy and aristocracy" (he holds them in "esteem") and suggesting that they are "[t]he only instututions that can possibly preserve the laws and liberties of the people". Note, I haven't suggested that Adams viewed hereditary approaches as a near-term, politically feasible option in the US; rather, that he defended and expressed support for such systems (and he did at times see them as likely in the longer term). Regarding the 2nd quote, you mentioned that "most everyone" at the time opposed "voting for senators". However, it is one thing to argue that senators should be chosen indirectly (e.g. by state legislators), it's quite another to suggest that "the chance of having wisdom and integrity in a senator by hereditary descent would be far better" (as Adams did). I continue to think that both of these quotes support point 2 above (i.e. expressed support for hereditarian forms of government) and also are consistent with the wording from the senate historical office.
Also, you seemed to imply in an earlier comment that Founding Brothers contradicts claims made by the Senate Historical office (regarding Adam's support for hereditary approaches), but I looked at the pages you referenced and didn't see any claims that were inconsistent with the historical office?
Regarding Adam's claims to be an "enemy to Monarchy", that quote was one reason my initial post above was careful to mention his "denials" of the allegations. But again, if Adams defends monarchy in some contexts and repudiates it in others, I think both views should be reflected in the article (though even in this quote he seems to be asserting himself an "enemy" only to absolute forms of monarchy, and distancing himself much more tentatively from limited monarchy). Also, just to clarify, my assumption is that this "enemy" quote is only intended as an objection to point 3 above (not point 2).
LoveIsGrue (talk) 06:44, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
the problem with the page from the Senate is -- like often happens in popular writing -- the nuances and complexities and denials are all missing. That's why Wikipedia prefers signed scholarly studies by experts such as Ellis, Wood etc. In this matter I see three issues: 1) what did Adams think abstractly about talent & heredity & monarchy--in general terms that applied to all nations; 2) what did he actually propose in practice for the US? 3) what did his enemies say and why. On #3 Jefferson saw the issue in black and white: anyone who supported the Jay treaty and was hostile to France was therefore a monarchist opposed to republicanism. Historians now reject Jefferson as quite wrong on this. On #1 Adams made clear time and again that republicanism meant virtue and virtue trumped issues such as hereditary office; but for Jefferson republicanism it meant democracy and rejection of hereditary office was a central concern of his. (See also his fight against primogeniture). They came from different political cultures--inherited power was a fact of life for the powerful families in Virginia, and not at all so in Massachusetts. Rjensen (talk) 12:39, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Regarding your new point 1, would you be OK with content being added to the article to reflect his "abstract" views on hereditary and monarchical systems (including some Adams quotes where he expresses sympathy for such approaches). Regarding your point 2, I think we're basically on the same page (or sufficiently so). As to your point #3, would you agree that the article could also use more content on this, including mentioning the issue that monarchist accusations "dogged" his career (as well as references arguing that some of these allegations went too far). Also, you imply that the senate historical office article is not "signed" or that the author isn't an "expert"; however, it looks like the PDF version is signed by political science professor (and politician) Mark O. Hatfield.[7] LoveIsGrue (talk) 15:53, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
LoveIsGrue in reply to your points in reply to me above: your point 1 is already addressed in this article, there is no reason to put it in those terms you suggest. As for your point 2, did he express support for republican forms of Government? The scholarship says that he did. Moreover, what was meant by "limited monarchy" in the 1790s and did the term even exist? In none of the Constitutions he wrote or advised upon did he establish a monarchy, so no on Constitutional. For your 3, the question would have to be referred to substantial scholarly opinion, in secondary sources (and not to Pedia editors readings of primary documents). Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:05, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Regarding point 1, you say it is already addressed, but the current article appears to just highlight one person's (Warren's) suggestion that he might be too monarchical, as opposed to mentioning the persistent pro-monarchy accusations that he faced throughout his career (e.g. the source above mentioning that he was "dogged" by such accusations). As to point 2 (support for hereditary systems), you ask if he expressed support for republican forms of government; I'm not sure I understand why you're asking this, but it's true that he did. And he also expressed support for hereditary systems in his writings, which is not mentioned in the article (of the three issues under discussion, this seems to me to be the most serious gap in the current article). Regarding point 3, I agree that the wiki article should not refer to him as a being a monarchist, nor does it even need to explicitly suggest that the allegations had some truth to them; but I do think it would be worthwhile to include some of Adam's pro-monarchy quotes to provide context for the allegations (the article has many primary quotes in other contexts) and secondary sources explaining how Adams' own writings provided a seed for the allegations (including many unfair ones) e.g. Ellis's comment that Adams had "tied a tin can labeled monarchist to his own tail which rattled through ages and pages of history books". [Founding Brothers p.169] As far as whether the term "limited monarchy" existed at the time, Adams himself used the term (see RJensen's "enemy to Monarchy" quote above LoveIsGrue (talk) 17:07, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Here are more quotes from another secondary source backing up claims 2 and 3 above, taken from The Character of John Adams by Peter Shaw. This book has similar wording to the senate historical office (Shaw is one of their refs), supporting the notions that Adams advocated monarchy and hereditary institutions for the US (and suggesting that the pro-monarchy allegations had "stumbled on a truth"):

  • "In fact, however, stung by Hamilton's electoral manipulations he had written that 'elections of the president and senators cannot be long conducted in a populous, oppulent, and commercial nation without corruption Sedition and Civil war' and he outlined a plan by which state conventions would appoint hereditary senators while a national one appointed a president for life" [p231-232].
  • "But the inevitable attacks on Adams, crude as they were, stumbled on a truth that he did not admit to himself. He was leaning to monarchy and aristocracy (as distinct from kings and aristocrats) at the time he wrote 'Davila', though he did not directly reveal this in its essays. Decidedly, sometime after he became vice-president Adams concluded that the United States would have to adopt a hereditary legislature and a monarch." [p.231]

LoveIsGrue (talk) 23:49, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

For Jefferson any support for a limited monarch (= lifetime president) or inherited office was a violation of his commitment to democracy. Yes, but that was Jefferson's position and his total commitment to democracy was and remains controversial. What if the people support a law the minority considers unjust (slavery, abortion, Jim Crow, nativism, say). Lincoln and Douglas battled this out in 1868-60, and Lincoln won. That is, virtue trumps democracy. see Burt's new book As for limited monarchy = lifetime presidency, that also has been a disputed point. In 1787 the Constitution specified 4 year elections, but that --as FDR demonstrated--could mean perpetual reelection until death. (The consensus came in 1945: a two-term limit). However 1787 also brought lifetime judges, which we still have. As for inherited office, this was a big issue in Jefferson's Virginia but not in Adams' New England. It comes up every so often in talking about the Kennedy and Bush families but I think the jeffersonians made their point. We still do have it in the private sector (eg Ford Motor Co in perpetual control of a family, and many Foundations like Gates Foundation as well). On the points argued above, it is important to stress #3, that Adams was a favorite target of the Jeffersonians on the monarchist issue. (note that Jefferson, Madison & Washington did not have sons but Adams had a highly eligible one who did become president.) Rjensen (talk) 17:58, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
It sounds like we've reached sufficient agreement to move forward, so I think I'll take a stab at the changes we've been discussing (but let me know if you guys disagree). As far as the phrase "limited monarchy", here's a modern definition (as = "constitutional monarchy")[8]. Also, Adams clarifies his (subtly different) usage of the phrase in his letter to Roger Sherman from july 18, 1789. LoveIsGrue (talk) 02:59, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Based on the above discussion, I made a first-pass at a new sub-section covering Adams' views on "Monarchical and hereditary institutions". I followed suit with the Thomas Jefferson article, and added a section called "Political philosophy and views" to hold the new content. By the way, again following the Jefferson article, it seems like it would be worth adding additional sub-sections to this section, covering Adams' views on slavery, federalism, the national bank, etc. But for now, I just added a single sub-section on heredity/monarchy. LoveIsGrue (talk) 04:37, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

NPOV reference to 3/5 compromise

The article says:

Ultimately, however, Jefferson owed his election victory to the South's inflated number of Electors, which counted slaves under the three-fifths compromise.

This clearly implies the POV that the proper computation would have been not to count slaves at all and therefore by rights Adams should have won. But it could equally well be argued that the full number of slaves, not 3/5, should have been counted—that is consistent with the fact that the full number of women and children, who also could not vote, were counted—and therefore Jefferson not only should have won, but should have won by a larger margin.

Please delete or reword this sentence. -- (talk) 06:01, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

18 gueinas being the cost of a pair of shoes.... 18 guenas was about 5 spanish dollars or this would be 151.2 g of .9135 of GOLD worth way more than a pair of shoes!! I think your refernce is inaccurate. This would have been equal to nearly 20 british pounds for the time period a handsome some of wages. It would be the equivalent of two yrs of salary for a sailor for the time period — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:55, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Req: punc fix

Could an established editor please remove the unnecessary comma from the following line:

He and his wife, founded an accomplished family line...

This should, of course, read as follows:

He and his wife founded an accomplished family line...

done. thanks. Alanscottwalker (talk) 01:19, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Religious views

Please forgive an earlier post on a unresolved dispute page, I had trouble finding this page.

Truths, a grouping of false claims not supported by John Adams own quotes and then truth. Could we not remove the false claims. John Adams was a Christian and not a deist.

In 1796, Adams denounced political opponent Thomas Paine's criticisms of Christianity in his Deist book The Age of Reason, saying, "The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity, let the Blackguard Paine say what he will." -- The Works of John Adams (1854), vol III, p 421, diary entry for July 26, 1796.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration,

Michael Lechner
Mrlechner (talk) 16:33, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

According to his biographer David McCullough, "as his family and friends knew, Adams was both a devout Christian, and an independent thinker".[116]

See: DEIST, n. One who believes in the existence of a God, but denies revealed religion, but follows the light of nature and reason, as his only guides in doctrine and practice; a freethinker.

Webster, Noah. Entry for 'Deist'. Noah Webster's American Dictionary. 1828.

A contradiction to his own words posted at the end of the section: In 1796, Adams denounced political opponent Thomas Paine's criticisms of Christianity in his Deist book The Age of Reason, saying, "The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity, let the Blackguard Paine say what he will."[126]

Adams was educated at Harvard when the influence of deism was growing there, and sometimes used deistic terms in his speeches and writing.[118]

when the influence of deism was growing there -- This might imply he was some how influenced by or was a deist. See last quote of his in this article, he was not a deist (his own words).

used deistic terms in his speeches and writing. -- Used these terms how? To dispute deistic beliefs? To support deism? Did he use the word "God" also a deistic term.

Everett (1966) concludes that "Adams strove for a religion based on a common sense sort of reasonableness" and maintained that religion must change and evolve toward perfection.[119] -- Truely deistic beliefs and contradicted by the Quotes of John Adams both here on wikipedia and wikiquotes.

"The first and almost only book deserving of universal distinction is the Bible.
I speak as a man of the world to the men of the world and I say to you,
'Search the Scriptures.'" -- John Adams

Fielding (1940) argues that Adams' beliefs synthesized Puritan, deist, and humanist concepts. -- contradicted by the Quotes of John Adams both here on wikipedia and wikiquotes.


────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────From reading the above, I'm confused by which stance you are taking: Adams as a Deist or Adams as a Christian. There is verifiable evidence that Adams was a Christian and the article states as much. -- Winkelvi 16:58, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

John Adams was a Christian and not a deist. The article tries to indicate that he was a deist, a connect the dot series of quotes. Thank you. Mrlechner (talk) 17:13, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
WikiTree members, of which I participate, quote this article "so he was a Christain and a deist." Perhaps we could remove some of the modern quotes and replace them with his own words of which there is much. Mrlechner (talk) 18:23, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
The article doesnt indicate anything of the sort, the infobox clearly states his religion, and any sane reading of the religious views section clearly shows the same (congregationalist when younger, then unitarian). We shouldnt go around removing the deistitc influence sections, without some very, very good reasoning (keep in mind these are sourced). The article already explicitly states adams was not a deist (see quote: Frazer, 2004) -- Nbound (talk) 22:02, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps we should keep in mind that direct quotes from Adams carry less weight than what reliable sources say about him, because over-reliance on direct quotes is original research, which is not allowed here. With that said, the article as it now stands actually tones down the earlier explicitly Deist interpretation of Adams. See this diff The scholarly literature on Adams prominently examines his thought in relation to deism, and that should be reflected in the article.--Other Choices (talk) 00:17, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

I had to ask, because whenI read the article, it seemed pretty clear to me that Adams was a Christian. As far as I can tell, the article is accurate in regard to his faith and the references are adequate and support his Christianity. -- Winkelvi 00:42, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Descendancy from Henry Adams

In the family tree of John Adams, it is presented that his 3rd grandfather was named John adams and that he was married to an Agnes Stone. One of the sources presented in the family tree, The Vinton Memorial, says that this individual was Henry Adams whose wife is unknown. Both this source and another, "A genealogical history of Henry Adams, of Braintree, Mass., and his descendants; also John Adams, of Cambridge, Mass., 1632-1897. Comp. and ed. by Andrew N. Adams"> discuss at length the difference of opinion between John Adams and his son John Quincy regarding where Henry Adams came from in England. Clearly they were both in agreement that they are descended from Henry. (talk) 18:50, 11 August 2013 (UTC)Gilbert Cullen - Paoli, PA — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:48, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Edit on March 6 2014

Added links to all of the books so that people can access and buy the book if they want to know more about John Adams. I also, fixed two titles that weren't 100% correct.

TheInformativePanda (talk) 20:25, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

"buy the book" That would be spam for promotional purposes. It's not appropriate. --Ronz (talk) 20:05, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 16 March 2014

In section 8.1, Quasi-War and peace with France, the quote "Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility of the peace with France in the year 1800", is repeated twice, at the beginning and at the end of the article. One of them should be removed, I think the second. Thank You (talk) 00:54, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Done Sam Sailor Sing 21:48, 17 March 2014 (UTC)


Would someone please explain to me why this article keeps referring to Thomas Jefferson and his party as Democrat-Republicans, a term that never saw print until Andrew Jackson's era? Every historic document and letter I have seen refers to the party of Jefferson as Republican. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:34, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

See Democratic-Republican Party. The term "Democratic-Republican Party" is a modern convention to describe the party of Jefferson. Andrew Jackson was a member of the Democratic Party, the first such president. Perhaps you are a bit confused. The modern Democratic Party split from the DR party in 1824. It is technically true that Jefferson's party was initially known as the "Republican Party" to its contemporaries, but to avoid confusion with the modern "Republican Party" (which has no historical connection to Jefferson's party) modern sources universally refer to this party as the "Democratic-Republican party". --Jayron32 23:06, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Jayron EXCEPT: political scientists today do favor the D-R version but most historians today favor "Republican" or "Jeffersonian Republican" versions. At the time the D-R version was rarely used before 1820s. For a recent example see 1) JR Sharp - Reviews in American History (2011): "The Republican opposition led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison was slow to develop .... The North, though, was a different case, as the Republican party was the political expression of new egalitarian-minded social forces." 2) D Scott - Ohio History (2014) : "At both levels the Republican Party, the party of Thomas Jefferson, was in the majority." 3) AW Robertson - Journal of the Early Republic (2013) "Republican party leaders and their followers as they sought to resolve the Electoral College tie...." (in 1800). etc. Rjensen (talk) 04:52, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough... perhaps I overstated the case. But though the party was known during Jefferson's presidency as merely the "Republican Party" for obvious reasons (to avoid confusion with the unrelated modern Republican Party) it is perhaps better to use the later "Democratic-Republican" name. --Jayron32 04:58, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

bold print

why are portions of the quotes bolded? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jmannon2 (talkcontribs) 02:21, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Can you give an example? I'm not seeing any bold in the quotes. —C.Fred (talk) 02:28, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Cost of shoes

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: -- 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: [9]. 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

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 [10] and [11] 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)


Adams as a good lawyer "provided a principled" legal defense to the British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre. Why suggest that it was controversial to do so, or that he needed to justify having done so? The soldiers were in fact innocent, and even if not so were still entitled to a legal defence, even under American justice.Royalcourtier (talk) 05:50, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

It was extremely controversial (five civilians were killed); and he endangered his reputation, any possible future political career, and possibly his physical safety by defending the soldiers during a time when Britain was the hated enemy and had, unprovoked, killed five innocent civilians. Softlavender (talk) 06:37, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Opposition to slavery

I do not see the connection between being a "lifelong opponent of slavery", and "having never bought a slave". The latter was a consequence of the former, not the other way around.Royalcourtier (talk) 05:47, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Fixed. Softlavender (talk) 06:38, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that in private he strongly disliked slavery. However in terms of public policy he did NOT support the antislavery position. he usually tried to keep the slavery issue off the agenda because he was afraid of a North-South split among patriots. Rjensen (talk) 07:23, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 21 January 2015

{{Persondata |NAME= John Adams

is not correct, or at least out of synch with the vast majority of other articles.

It should be

|NAME= Adams, John

Smykytyn (talk) 15:30, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done  B E C K Y S A Y L E 16:33, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

{{Persondata has an error

{{Persondata |NAME= John Adams

is not correct.

It should be

|NAME= Adams, John

to be consistent with most other Presidents, not to mention most other person entries.

Smykytyn (talk) 04:12, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

WP:BEBOLD JKshaw (talk) 21:02, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

whoops didn't realize was protected JKshaw (talk) 21:04, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 8 February 2015

In 1770, a street confrontation resulted in British soldiers killing five civilians, including Crispus Attucks [1], in what became known as the Boston Massacre. The soldiers involved were arrested on criminal charges. Not surprisingly, they had trouble finding legal counsel to represent them. Finally, they asked Adams to organize their defense. He accepted, though he feared it would hurt his reputation. In their defense, Adams made his now famous quote regarding making decisions based on the evidence: "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." He also offered a now-famous, detailed defense of Blackstone's Ratio:

Arguing the soldiers fired at the civilians in self-defense, John Adams successfully defended most of the accused British soldiers against a charge of murder. Two of the soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter. Faced with the prospect of hanging, the soldiers pled benefit of clergy, and were instead branded on their thumbs. In his arguments, Adams called the crowd "a motley rabble of saucy boys, negros and molattoes, Irish teagues and outlandish jack tarrs."."[2] In particular, he charged Attucks with having "undertaken to be the hero of the night," and with having precipitated a conflict by his "mad behavior."[3]

  1. ^ The Murder of Crispus Attucks.
  2. ^ The Murder of Crispus Attucks.
  3. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Attucks, Crispus". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 

Debparker777 (talk) 03:52, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Not sure what is being requested here. Per the template's instructions:
This template must be followed by a complete and specific description of the request, that is, specify what text should be removed and a verbatim copy of the text that should replace it. "Please change X" is not acceptable and will be rejected; the request must be of the form "please change X to Y".
Shearonink (talk) 04:36, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

AAS Membership

Adams was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1813, and I'll add him to the category list of AAS members; I guess my question is given all the other more historically important things he was involved in does it make sense to just leave it at that? I can't really see any place where it wouldn't interfere with the flow of the article if it was mentioned in the body of the actual article text. Thoughts anyone? ADGB1750 (talk) 13:53, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, I think I personally agree that it's too inconsequential to add to the body text, although for future reference it would be good if you provided a citation for proof of his membership, here on this talk page, vis-a-vis the Category. Thanks. Softlavender (talk) 01:01, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
A mention of his membership can be found here:

[[12]] and here: Dunbar, B. (1987). Members and Officers of the American Antiquarian Society. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society and here:

I wasn't sure how to make a reference for a category list, but I certainly have the sources to back up his inclusion to said list.
ADGB1750 (talk) 16:58, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
That looks fine to me. There's no referencing for categories; they usually reflect something that has been stated and referenced in the body text -- however I think we are in agreement that mention in the body text would simply clutter the article further at this point (unless others disagree). I don't really think anyone is going to question the category, and if they do it's easy enough to Google or look here in the Talk page (or its archives). By the way, just for future reference, make sure you properly indent your talk page posts with increasing numbers of colons so your posts nest under the post you are replying to. (I've done that for you above this time.) Cheers, Softlavender (talk) 00:35, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 21 April 2015

it is 1654-1723 (talk) 17:44, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Edgars2007 (talk/contribs) 17:51, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Please capitalize, to make consistent with others.

Would someone please capitalize "president of the United States" & "vice president of the United States", to "President of the United States" & "Vice President of the United States"? It's done in all the other US Presidents & Vice President bios articles, so why not here? GoodDay (talk) 22:55, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Link to John Dickinson

Dickinson is only mentioned by last name and there are no links to him in the article. Please include one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:07, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 23 August 2015

Would like to add a section on Pets. In it would like to write : Among the names given to the pets owned by John Adams, his dog's name is wrong; the Adams's were religious people and he would never have named his pet something not religious. Massachusetts Historical Society Kgupta1 (talk) 23:14, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: please provide reliable sources that support the change you want to be made. Need some sort of proof that this information does come from the historical society. Also, this article currently makes no references to his dog or any pets, so I'm not sure who is providing the apparently incorrect name of his dog. Cannolis (talk) 12:55, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Would you consider submitting this to a Peer Review?

Hoppyh, I saw this at GAC, and I'm not doing that review, but I hope you take this in the spirit of which it is meant - to help with your goal. It looks like you've done a great deal of work on this lately, and you are to be congratulated for that. However, I think it would benefit from a new in-depth Peer Review before GAC. This article passed a Peer Review in January 2010, more than 5 years ago. The reason I don't think it's ready for GAC, is because there are too many issues just skimming the surface:

  • Career before the Revolution:
Three paragraphs in a row begin the same way
In 1765
In April 1768
In 1770
Done. Hoppyh (talk) 12:34, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Counsel for the British - Boston Massacre section
Last sentence in the section says "For £533—four years’ earnings for many Boston craftsmen...", but the first sentence in the earlier section about his law practice uses the $ American dollar. Which is it?
Help Needed. Need to convert to 1772 USD? Above my pay grade. Hoppyh (talk) 17:56, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Hoppyh, my point here is the inconsistency. They were either using British pounds, or American currency throughout that time period. — Maile (talk) 20:26, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
Both these remarks are from Ferling, dang him. Hard to imagine the pound not being the better measure. Hoppyh (talk) 20:58, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
Done. Moved Ferling's quote of $100 to footnote - U.S. dollar not created until 1776; see Early American currency. Inquiry pending with Ferling publicist.Hoppyh (talk) 13:35, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Disputes concerning Parliament's authority section
Every paragraph begins with the word "In"
Done. Hoppyh (talk) 12:46, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Envoy in Europe section - repetition in beginning paragraphs
Adams was
In late 1777 Adams was
Adams was
In the fall of 1779 Adams was
Done. Hoppyh (talk) 18:04, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Quasi-War and peace with France section - 3 of the 5 paragraphs begin with...
Adams' term was
Adams rebuilt
Adams knew
Done. Hoppyh (talk) 20:01, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Alien and Sedition Acts section
"There were four separate acts" - this important paragraph has no sourcing at all.
Done. Hoppyh (talk) 20:11, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Election of 1800
2 of the first 4 paragraphs begin with...
Adams was defeated
Adams was bitter
Remove the columns on the subsections. It's visually confusing, and looks cluttered up.
Done - in part. Letting columns stand for now - see other POTUS articles that include them - incl. some that are GA and FA. Hoppyh (talk) 02:38, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Retirement section - 4 of the 5 paragraphs begin...
Adams resumed
Adams' retirement
Adams' years
Adams' daughter
Done. Hoppyh (talk) 21:17, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Biographies section
There is only one inline citation in the entire section - the last two paragraphs have no sourcing at all
first 2 paragraphs begin with...
The first notable
The first modern
Done. Hoppyh (talk) 21:22, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Reference 57 needs the formatting fixed.
Done. (Replaced I think.) Hoppyh (talk) 21:25, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Below the Authority Control at the bottom are 7 stray references that don't seem to point to anything if clicked. Why aren't they in the References section with the rest?
Done. Moved Ancestry section (and displaced references) back into body of article. Hoppyh (talk) 14:13, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
  • What is the difference between "Bibliography" and "Primary sources"? Do both of them have inline citations pointing to them?
Other FA POTUS articles use "Sources" - these two sections can be combined. (I think a Bibliography section would be for materials authored by Adams.) Hoppyh (talk) 21:35, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
The first one - John Adams - is duplicated on both lists.
Done. Duplicate gone. Hoppyh (talk) 21:42, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Capon is duplicated on both lists.
Done. Duplicate gone. Hoppyh (talk) 21:42, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Let's maintain "Bibliography" and "Primary Sources" at least for now - See comments from Rjensen below. Hoppyh (talk) 13:54, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps It should be culled - I'm not qualified - the only one I would trust on such a job - Rjensen. Hoppyh (talk) 21:51, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Let's leave this alone - see comment from Rjensen below. Hoppyh (talk) 13:54, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
  • External links - that also seems like a big glut of external links.
Postponed - I've already cut it in half - better someone else should take a shot. Hoppyh (talk) 21:53, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
  • See also - a See Also section is supposed to be the section above the References
Done. Hoppyh (talk) 22:00, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
the further reading is appropriate--Adams has become quite popular and is often the subject of student papers (they will be the ones using this section). "primary sources" = writings by Adams. Many teachers nowadays require students to use these. They will be going to libraries to find what's available, so this will prove useful. It's all at the end and will not slow down any readers, but will speed up the papers students write. Rjensen (talk) 07:00, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Not ready for GAC, I think. You can do band aid fixes to what I've listed. But it just seems a Presidential biography needs someone experienced in the genre to go over this with something more than the "check off the criteria boxes". Good luck. — Maile (talk) 21:39, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

  • Thanks so much for the input. I'll try to address what you've raised; I agree about the PR route - must say I am not steeped in the promotion protocol - much better at the grunt work - at least some of it.Hoppyh (talk) 21:59, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
    • Maybe the GA nom should come down?Hoppyh (talk) 22:01, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure how to withdraw a GA, but if that's what you want, you might ask at GA Talk. John Adams is one of my favorite Presidents, by the way. I'd like to see this article become FAC, but to get there it needs work. Been there - done that, as far as taking an old article and revamping it. And then been told afterwards, "...oh, you need to correct..." on a lot of issues, and in more than one review on the same article(s). The more eyes that check this out, the better. — Maile (talk) 22:11, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
I had that experience with Lincoln..."it takes a village" as they say!Hoppyh (talk) 22:40, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
No apparent instructions re GA nom withdrawal. Hoppyh (talk) 12:35, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
Items listed above have been addressed. Done I am appreciative of the benefits of a peer review. I think it is fair to say that I am a Veteran Editor considerably experienced with the genre of presidential WP articles - see user page/edits - and I've attempted to bring that to the Adams article; having said that, I am no judge as to any article's eligibility for promotion. Again, I am most thankful for your input. Hoppyh (talk) 19:12, 27 August 2015 (UTC)


The main text is clear enough that Adams politically tolerated slavery as a institution. The lede has an irrelevant quotation from a primary source that suggests otherwise -- It is highly misleading, OR, and certainly does not belong in the lead. Rjensen (talk) 22:02, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Quote needs reference

The following quote (from Ambassador to Great Britain section) has been removed from the article per GA review for lack of a reference: When he was presented to his former sovereign, George III, the King intimated that he was aware of Adams' lack of confidence in the French government. Adams admitted this, stating: "I must avow to your Majesty that I have no attachment but to my own country." Hoppyh (talk) 18:23, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

Speeches section moved

The Speeches section below has been moved per GA review, as deemed unnecessary. I note that no such section exists in other presidential GA articles - see e.g. Lincoln, Garfield, Grant.


Inaugural Addresses

State of the Union Address


Hoppyh (talk) 19:39, 21 September 2015 (UTC)

Quote moved to reduce detail per GA Review

I have moved the following to reduce detail;

He reiterated this approach in an emphatic letter to James Lloyd, "I desire no other inscription over my gravestone than: Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility of the peace with France in the year 1800."Coffman, Steve (2012). Words of the Founding Fathers. NC, USA: McFarland. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-7864-5862-2. 

Hoppyh (talk) 14:53, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 18 October 2015

John Adams Age he was 91 when he died. (talk) 21:38, 18 October 2015 (UTC)

  • Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: He died in July. His birthday was in October. He had not yet reached his 91st birthday. --Stabila711 (talk) 22:00, 18 October 2015 (UTC)


He emigrated from Wales in 1675 and fifty years later his great-grandson, John Adams, became President of the United States.

122 years, by my reckoning. Valetude (talk) 16:27, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 26 January 2016

he was born in Braintree, Massachusetts. Captain3.145962 (talk) 23:38, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: please provide reliable sources that support the change you want to be made. --allthefoxes (Talk) 23:50, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
 This is a no-brainer! Face-smile.svg Adams was born in Braintree, which became Quincy. It says so right in the online source cited to. I suggest a better source, such as McCullough's biography. YoPienso (talk) 01:04, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm new to these templates. Don't know why it's all bold and can't figure out how to change it, YoPienso (talk) 01:04, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

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