Shortly after the battles at Lexington and Concord, Adams began to argue that it was time for the colonies to declare independence and to constitutionalize the powers, rights, and responsibilities of self-government.
Over the course of the next two years, no man worked as hard or played as important a role in the movement for independence.
Adams chaired the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence; he founded the American Navy; he drafted America's first Model Treaty; and, working 18-hour days, he served as a one-man Department of War and Ordnance.
n July 4th, 1826, 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died.
From his deathbed, Adams whispered those famous last words: "Thomas Jefferson survives."Literally speaking, he was mistaken. In another sense, though, he was right: the Jefferson legacy continued to live and prosper, while Adams's reputation, figuratively speaking, died an ignominious death.
Unlike Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Jefferson, John Adams never had what he called "puffers," or what we today call PR men.
During his lifetime, he had no James Carville to defend him from partisan political opponents, and after he was gone he had no Arthur Schlesinger to mythologize his life and character for posterity., "Yankee John" has finally found the "puffer" that he has so long deserved.
Liberty, for Adams, meant freedom from foreign domination, freedom from unjust government coercion, freedom from other individuals, and freedom from the tyranny of oneself.
A free people ought to be jealous of their rights and liberties, and they must always stand on guard to protect them.
At the request of several colleagues, he wrote his own constitutional blueprint, , which was used as a working model by constitution-makers in several states.
Later, in 1779, Adams drafted the Massachusetts Constitution, which was the most sophisticated constitution produced during the Revolutionary era, and, as Mc Cullough reminds us, is the "oldest functioning written constitution in the world."Adams's greatest moment in Congress came in the summer of 1776.