Tides do rise, and John Adams’s reputation started to rise a half century before McCullough’s biography. In 1953 Russell Kirk canonized John Adams in his magnum opus, The Conservative Mind, arguing that of all the patriot founders, it was our second president who best understood history, constitutions, and the consequences of ideas. Kirk realized Adams’s intellectual achievement was one key to any fame posterity would confer.
Also during the Bicentennial celebration, PBS aired a 13-part series called the Adams Chronicles that presented 150 years of the family’s history and fetched many Emmys.
And the U.S. Treasury has issued a John Adams gold coin honoring the 2nd president, an unwitting double-entendre for his “currency.”
This essay is the second in a series on John Adams. The Adams series served as the basis for my talk accompanying the exhibition, John Adams Unbound, organized by the Boston Public Library and the American Library Association. The talk was given at the Loutit District Library, Grand Haven, Michigan, on June 30, 2011.
This Adams series is posted on July 2 because he thought that was the day our country’s independence should be pondered and celebrated.
For more on presidents and leadership, see http://www.allpresidents.org/.