Talk:John Adams (miniseries)

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Historical Innacuracies[edit]

According to the noted and respected White House historian and authority William Seale, in his book, "The White House: The History of an American Idea", the White House was, indeed, painted white immediately upon completion. This was the practice of the Scottish masons, who used the paint (or whitewash) to seal the masonry. The article states that the White House was only painted white to cover the burn marks following the War of 1812. This is inaccurate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.240.80.35 (talk) 07:08, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

There are a number of errors on the historical inaccuracies page. For instance, at the end of section I wikipedia says that tar and feathers were not often done in Boston. According to Benjamin H. Irvin's paper "Tar, Feathers, and the Enemies of American Liberties, 1768-1776" tar and feathers were practiced in Boston. Irvin's appendix is a table which shows 12 documented instances of tar and feathers being used in Boston, more than most other cities mentioned.

The same section, on the wiki page, also says tar and feathers was 'not brutality, but humiliation'. While it was an act of humiliation, it also left people with severe burns all over their bodies. I think it is safe to say it was both brutal and humiliating. [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by 45.52.230.21 (talk) 17:11, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

We get it, it's a TV show[edit]

Couldn't the writing be cleaned up a bit here...this is all in one paragraph.

"The event is dramatized and shown as.... It portrays.... The show portrays John Adams.... Adams is depicted to have... Adams is shown...." —Preceding unsigned comment added by 41.249.20.92 (talk) 11:16, 30 August 2009 (UTC)


Question on the music[edit]

This is purely OR... but while watching the first episode, I suddenly had the idea that I had heard the theme music before. I wracked my brain and then realized it sounded very very similar to the theme from The Last of the Mohicans (1992 film). Does anyone know if there is a connection? Blueboar (talk) 04:00, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

No connection, I believe. Last of the Mohicans was scored by Randy Edelman and the only thing in common is a very catchy fiddle tune. Auror (talk) 16:20, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I'd go a little further: the score of The Last of the Mohicans, one of the best of the '90s, has been highly influential (though probably not as much as Thomas Newman's score of American Beauty), and the score of John Adams is a reflection of that. —Kevin Myers 04:04, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Don't let anybody hoodwink you about the music having "the only thing in common is a very catchy fiddle tune." Both songs are from "MacLean's most famous pieces include "The Gael", from his 1990 album The Search, which was adapted by Trevor Jones as the main theme to the 1992 film Last of the Mohicans; and Caledonia, from his first album, which has been covered by numerous singers and groups." (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gael). I would go as far as to say that Rob Lane and Joseph Vitarelli did the same thing Trevor Jones and used MacLean's "The Gael" as the basis of their "John Adams TV Mini-series" theme music.
Granted the instruments may be different, but, trust me, they're undeniably one and the same piece.
This has happened one other time too. Case in point. There is a piece of music for "Batman - The Movie" which was a direct copy of the one from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker". & that composer (Batman Movie) got an Oscar for his composition. What a sham.

Episode Plot Summaries?[edit]

Do we really need detailed plot summaries for each episode? I can understand including a brief wiki-linked list of the events covered during each episode, but anyone who wishes to know the details of what occured in during these events can find them better explained in other articles. Blueboar (talk) 13:06, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Really wish these hadn't been deleted. I haven't been able to find these detailed summaries in any "other articles" while searching around the net. Joinks (talk) 00:46, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Try the article on John Adams, which deals well with these events. Blueboar (talk) 02:50, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
The deleted summaries were actually taken from the HBO webpage for the miniseries. They were, word for word, the episode summaries for the episodes. Drunken Savior (talk) 04:14, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Spoiler Warning[edit]

Yes, I know this is based on History and we all know "who wins" and all, but maybe there should still be a spoiler alert ahead of the episode summaries? Cowicide (talk) 19:04, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

No... for several reasons: First, Wikipedia seriously frowns on "spoiler alerts", even for works of fiction. If someone doesn't want to have their enjoyment of a book, film or TV show, they don't have to read the summary. Second, the current "summary" does not really give the "plot" away... it simply lists the historical events covered by each episode. Third, as you say... this miniseries dramatizes historical events. It is rediculous to put a "spoiler alert" on something like this... the "plot" is covered in every grade school American History text book. We might as well put a "spoiler alert" on the main John Adams article? After all, that article essentially gives away the entire plot of the miniseries. Blueboar (talk) 19:22, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
Uh, no matter how well-versed in History you may be, you may still not want to know what's going to happen in a specific episode before seeing it because there IS this thing called "editing" at work here in this series. Anyway, a simple link would have been sufficient. Smarmy attitude aside, I see your point that Wikipedia now doesn't allow spoiler alerts. So, being moot and all, I'll just ignore the rest of your insulting, redundant, long-winded rant on the matter. Cowicide (talk) 00:20, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
And even though the "the 'plot' is covered in every grade school American History text book." There is a possibility that someone from an other country, other than USA, might read the article.88.114.193.103 (talk) 04:36, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

Infobox elements missing[edit]

Does anyone know why some of the infobox elements such as cinematographer, editor and distributor not appearing in the actual infobox? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Timberlax (talkcontribs) 02:44, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

I took a look at it but I can't figure it out. I'm going to bring it to the help desk.--Torchwood Who? (talk) 11:07, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Historical accuracy[edit]

Does anyone know if Part/Episode One is accurate in its depiction of the pouring of tar and feathers (I think it's tar) over the British official? Did this actually happen? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.253.155.173 (talk) 06:15, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

July 2008 Was Adams in Boston during the Boston Massacre? Did he see the aftermath firsthand? ...................... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 140.247.10.18 (talk) 04:01, 31 July 2008 (UTC) I imagine there should be a section on historical accuracy in this article. I cannot imagine that the miniseries depicts all events with 100% accuracy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.45.80.206 (talk) 01:01, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

This is true, I for one noticed the incorrect results of the Boston Massacre trial in the first episode.--Torchwood Who? (talk) 03:20, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that we should include such a secton. I note that most of the "errors" are essentially just omissions (ie the production skips over some things... for example, the program omits Adams's first trip to Paris, and his roll in negotiating the Peace of Paris). I am interested about the last comment... What was incorrect about the trial results? Blueboar (talk) 14:20, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
To my knowledge, as I watched the first episode again just yesterday, they portrayed all of the verdicts as not guilty but in actuality two of the soldiers were convicted of manslaughter. Also, in the series it is either an error or omission that Abigail is alone when she visits Paris. Adams' oldest daughter accompanied her mother to Paris at John's request. There's also the issue of the tar and feathering scene in the first episode. There's no historical evidence to suggest that John Hancock or Sam Adams were present for, or encouraged tarring and feathering during the seizure of the Liberty. In fact historical evidence suggests that they wouldn't have endorsed such an action at that time and if they were present for those events it would have been covered in the press, as all parties were of importance to local politics of the time. If we're to assume the man who was tarred was supposed to be George Gailer, there are court documents showing that he sued a number of sailors for his tarring, but did not make mention of Hancock or the Liberty in any of his statements. He was defended in court by John Adams. This is just off the top of my head, I'm sure that we can put together some nice bullet points. If we make a section we might want to avoid the headings of "Inaccuracies and Omissions" I think both of those are too strong.--Torchwood Who? (talk) 19:46, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
You know... I am having second thoughts about including such a section (at least for now). We run the risk of preforming Original Research, unless we can cite to sources that point out the various errors or omissions we want to include. While such sources may eventually be written, I doubt they are written yet (correct me if I am wrong on this). Blueboar (talk) 20:37, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
They exist [1] you just need to find them. It's a fun scavenger hunt.--Torchwood Who? (talk) 22:24, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't think a sourced list of historic inaccuracies would constitute original research, even if the specific inaccuracies haven't been previously reported elsewhere. While comparing the level of inaccuracy to other similar tv/film/literature would perhaps be OR, merely citing historic facts shouldn't be a policy violation. --NEMT (talk) 22:03, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
OK... here is a good example of the problems we will face with this section. Currently the following is posted as an inaccuracy: "During a reception in France in 1777, Franklin and Adams are shown handing out American flags, however, the version of the flag shown in the scene was not adopted until 2 years later in 1779"
But is it actually an inaccuracy? First, the miniseries truncates events somewhat. Events that took place several years apart are depicted as being close together in time. So how do we know that the reception being depicted was supposed to take place in 1777... Could it not be depicting something that supposedly took place in 1779? Second, we need to establish that the version of the flag was indeed adopted in 1779 and not earlier. We need a citation of some sort to establish this.
In other words... we need to better establish that an inaccuracy is in fact inaccurate. Blueboar (talk) 14:36, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
I've verified that the flag shown was authentic. It had 13 stars, 13 stripes. Although the "Betsy Ross flag" is popularly depicted as the official flag, many varieties of star configurations within the jack were used at the time (1777). Darana (talk) 17:45, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
On the other hand... there is another inaccuracy that can be cited (to David McCullough's book if not a better source): The miniseries makes a big to do over Charles Adams' resentment over his Father's absence while he was growing up... in fact, John Adams took both John Quincy and Charles with him on his second voyage to France. Charles was with him in Paris and during his time in the Netherlands (returning to America when Adams returned to Paris after Yorktown.) Blueboar (talk) 15:49, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

It's not perfect, but then again, how could it be? I would like to point out that the part stating that the letter in the last episode that was written in 1777 isn't nessecarily an inacuraccy. It's just mentioned at the wrong time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.48.94.53 (talk) 23:20, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, I removed that one about the letter in 1777, since there's nothing in the film suggesting that it was written late in Adams's life. In fact, he's already dead when we hear the letter. It's just an excerpt of something he wrote that serves as a coda to the film. —Kevin Myers 02:08, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Does anyone know if Part/Episode One is accurate in its depiction of the pouring of tar and feathers (I think it's tar) over the British official? Did this actually happen? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.253.49.226 (talk) 07:49, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

without references, isn't this whole section OR and thus not appropriate? It's a fictionalized movie, not a documentary, thus changes, omissions, compressions and revisions of the facts are to be expected in the name of dramatic flow. My understanding was that lists of changes from reality in docu-dramas was frowned on by Wikipedia.DragonsDream (talk) 13:22, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Another note of conflict: In the "Historical Inaccuracies" section, it says that The White House was not painted white until after the burning of Washington in the War of 1812. However, the "Burning of Washington" article says: "A legend emerged that during the rebuilding of the structure white paint was applied to mask the burn damage it had suffered, giving the building its namesake hue. This is unfounded as the building had been painted white since its construction in 1798." Which is true? mgahs (talk) 17:54, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

The White House was painted white prior to Adams living there. I am looking for a good source now. MagicJigPipe (talk) 04:40, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

I have something else: in the first episode, I had a compelling feeling, that the Adams' children's age is somewhat a mixup - their eldest daughter, Abigail Jr. was born in 1765, so in 1770 she was 5, but we can undoubtly see she's much older, same thing refers to John Quincy (born 1767). How come?--Robi2009 (talk) 01:53, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Any number of reasons, though I doubt it was ignorance considering the amount of time they must have spent studying Adams and his family. Usually it has to do with making production easier, or some such thing. Anyway you'd need to find a source if you want it to be included in the article. Lord Cornwallis (talk) 01:58, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

John & Abigal related to each other before they married[edit]

Historians have said that John and Abigail were already related to each other before they married each other that they were 3rd cousins to each other is this true???? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.80.106.105 (talk) 23:08, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

This is the page for discussing the content of the article about the TV series. Perhaps this belongs on the articles about the real people themselves. There was no mention of this in the tv series. --rogerd (talk) 00:19, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Well whats the difference the actors where playing the characters and the characters they where playing where real people so whats the difference???? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.80.106.105 (talk) 21:29, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

The difference is that this aspect of their relationship was not mentioned in the miniseries, so it's not relevant here. There were many facts about the Adamses that were not included in the miniseries, and there is no sense in cluttering up this article with them. Ketone16 (talk) 14:27, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Rutledge[edit]

I put in a little sentince on how Rutledge was messed up :) Salveevery1 (talk) 03:23, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I removed this sentence because it doesn't make sense. Ketone16 (talk) 01:49, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Can you please fix it instead Thanks! :) Its all true :) Salveevery1 (talk) 02:17, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

I can perhaps fix it if you explain your intent better. You originally wrote that Rutledge's personality and views on independence were "very messed up." You just now edited that to say that he was pro-independence and his "personality" was mistaken for his brother. What do you mean by that? That Rutledge was pro-independence but the miniseries incorrectly portrayed him as being anti-independence? That the miniseries incorectly portrayed him as exhibiting a personality that is more commonly associated with his brother? I have no idea of what you're trying to say. I don't think "messed up" is the phrase you want to use here. Ketone16 (talk) 03:15, 2 January 2009 (UTC)


Thank You! yes,thats what I meant Rutledge was pro-independence and they incorrectly portrayed his personality. How does that sound? :)

Salveevery1 (talk) 16:03, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

It sounds better, although Wikipedia has a prohibition on "Original Research" -- I think you made need to provide an example from the miniseries of how Edward Rutledge was portrayed as being anti-independence, and use a reliable source to show how the portrayed incident didn't happen or at least was unlikely to happen. Ketone16 (talk) 23:35, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

"We will not vote for independence Mr.Adams! Not now not ever!" :) Salveevery1 (talk) 23:37, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

OK, now you should cite a source that indicates that he didn't hold such a position. Actually, I just looked at the Wikipedia article on Edward Rutledge, and it has the following sentence: "Although a firm supporter of colonial rights, he was initially reluctant to support independence from Great Britain, hoping instead for reconciliation with the mother country." That may be in line with the miniseries' portrayal of him. Ketone16 (talk) 23:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)


Adams supposingly hated Rutledge>from what it sounds like so the miniseries would be from Adams view.

I found some books on google book that would work as scorces :) and a website! :) Salveevery1 (talk) 02:09, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Barry Lyndon influence on the soundtrack[edit]

The second movement of the Piano Trio No. 2 (Schubert) is featured very prominently in the miniseries. This really deserves a mention in the soundtrack section. Also, Handel's Sarabande makes an appearance in the George III scene. Those were the two big numbers in Barry Lyndon. Did any reviewers note the musical link? DavidRF (talk) 05:18, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Vandelizem?[edit]

someone keeps deleting my edits :( (I used to have a username but I don't use it anymore it was salveevery1) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.90.230.226 (talk) 23:32, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Benjamin H. Irvin, "Tar, Feathers, and the Enemies of American Liberties, 1768-1776." The New England Quarterly, Vol. 76, No. 2 (Jun., 2003), pp. 197-238