Tag Archives: John Adams

Making the Most of a Bad Situation

“Speaking generally, no penance is like having one’s picture done. You must sit in a constrained and unnatural position, which is a trial to the temper. But I should like to sit to Stuart from the first of January to the last of December, for he lets me do just what I please, and keeps me constantly amused by his conversation.”  John Adams on sitting for Gilbert Stuart’s portrait sessions. 

Only for the conversation

Only for the conversation

 

Gilbert Stuart always claimed his depiction of Washington most authentic… speaking about the famous Lansdowne Portrait- famously rescued by Dolley Madison(or her servants) in 1814.   Stuart cited his authenticity-

“When I painted him [Washington], he had just had a set of false teeth inserted, which accounts for the constrained expression so noticeable about the mouth and lower part of the face…”   Gilbert Stuart

Rejecting a third term

Rejecting a third term

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On Grief

Even the eternal optimist within… Thomas Jefferson was dragged down to earth by loss.  Behind the iconic image was a man who loved deeply and lost nearly everyone dear to him.  Despite the pain, Jefferson remained optimistic, immersing himself in books and his correspondence.  He told his friend John Adams;

“You ask if I would agree to live my 70. or rather 73. years over again?  To which I say Yea.  I think with you that it is a good world on the whole, that it has been framed on a principle of benevolence, and more pleasure than pain dealt out to us.”

Tugging at his enlightened nature… was the depression that followed the loss of his loved ones.  Jefferson pondered the concept of grief to Adams;

“I have often wondered for what good end the sensations of Grief could be intended.  All our other passions, within proper bounds, have a useful object.”

Jefferson outlived his wife and all but one… of their children.  The thought of living out his days alone terrified him;

“This morning between 8 & 9. a clock my dear daughter Maria Eppes died…. My evening prospects now hang on the slender thread of a single life. Perhaps I may be destined to see even this last chord of parental affection broken!”

Sadness and reflections....

Sadness and reflections….

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Making the Most of a Bad Situation

“Speaking generally, no penance is like having one’s picture done. You must sit in a constrained and unnatural position, which is a trial to the temper. But I should like to sit to Stuart from the first of January to the last of December, for he lets me do just what I please, and keeps me constantly amused by his conversation.”  John Adams on sitting for Gilbert Stuart’s portrait sessions. 

Only for the conversation

Only for the conversation

 

Gilbert Stuart always claimed his depiction of Washington most authentic… speaking about the famous Lansdowne Portrait- famously rescued by Dolley Madison(or her servants) in 1814.   Stuart cited his authenticity-

“When I painted him [Washington], he had just had a set of false teeth inserted, which accounts for the constrained expression so noticeable about the mouth and lower part of the face…”   Gilbert Stuart

Rejecting a third term

Rejecting a third term

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On Regret

John Adams asked an aging Thomas Jefferson… if given the magical opportunity to live his life again, could he accept the chance-  given all of the pitfalls: hindsight, fear, and regret weighing down on his mind…

In the wilder years

In the wilder years

Jefferson’s optimism proved too much for tempered logic… it burned within his enlightened soul- he responded,

“You ask if I would agree to live my 70. or rather 73. years over again? To which I say Yea. I think with you that it is a good world on the whole, that it has been framed on a principle of benevolence . . . . I steer my bark with Hope in the head, leaving Fear astern.” 

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With liberty in tow, life is good… optimism such as this is often scoffed at in today’s culture- regret is a passion that drives many to cynicism and ultimately, irrelevance.  Jefferson still survives….

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Never Negotiate

The United States was barely a nation in 1785… but we were already feeling the pinch of international commerce.  America’s commercial fleet was under attack in the Mediterranean by the Islamic Barbary states of North Africa.  Between 1650-18oo near 2 million European and American sailors were sold into slavery by Muslims.

Negotiate from strength

Negotiate from strength

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were part of our first… diplomatic delegation   in London in 1785.  They were instructed to seek out Tripoli’s ambassador, Abdra-Rahman, and seek a maritime agreement.  The ambassador shocked the Americans with his exorbitant demands for ransom and tribute- even a fee for his personal attention. Jefferson protested the piracy by stating the facts: The US had no quarrel with the Muslim world, we had never been Crusaders, we took no part in the Spanish conquests of Muslim lands- what right did Tripoli have to exact such a toll?

War on Terror, phase 1

War on Terror, phase 1

The response must have struck every reasoned bone… in Jefferson’s body- Abdra-Rahman claimed that the Koran gave Tripoli permission;  The US and Europeans were infidels, and therefore subject to war and slavery by the Holy Ottoman Empire.  Monarchy and theocracy combined to create terror and wickedness.  Jefferson immediately responded to the US Congress that no such payment should be made to such an objectionable form of tyranny and banditry.  He advised that a naval squadron  be outfitted and sent to the Mediterranean to enforce our commercial rights.

Never negotiate with terrorists

Never negotiate with terrorists

John Adams was appalled by the Barbary terror… but felt the bribe was worth paying to maintain peace.  This policy carried over to the new Federal government and the Washington administration.  The negotiations would take place yearly, the tribute increased, yet the results were a travesty.  Jefferson predicted that negotiations and payment would only embolden the terrorists and prompt more and bolder transgressions.  When elected President in 1800, Jefferson made pacifying the Barbary states his #1 foreign policy initiative.

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Never Negotiate

The United States was barely a nation in 1785… but we were already feeling the pinch of international commerce.  America’s commercial fleet was under attack in the Mediterranean by the Islamic Barbary states of North Africa.  Between 1650-18oo near 2 million European and American sailors were sold into slavery by Muslims.

Negotiate from strength

Negotiate from strength

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were part of our first… diplomatic delegation   in London in 1785.  They were instructed to seek out Tripoli’s ambassador, Abdra-Rahman, and seek a maritime agreement.  The ambassador shocked the Americans with his exorbitant demands for ransom and tribute- even a fee for his personal attention. Jefferson protested the piracy by stating the facts: The US had no quarrel with the Muslim world, we had never been Crusaders, we took no part in the Spanish conquests of Muslim lands- what right did Tripoli have to exact such a toll?

War on Terror, phase 1

War on Terror, phase 1

The response must have struck every reasoned bone… in Jefferson’s body- Abdra-Rahman claimed that the Koran gave Tripoli permission;  The US and Europeans were infidels, and therefore subject to war and slavery by the Holy Ottoman Empire.  Monarchy and theocracy combined to create terror and wickedness.  Jefferson immediately responded to the US Congress that no such payment should be made to such an objectionable form of tyranny and banditry.  He advised that a naval squadron  be outfitted and sent to the Mediterranean to enforce our commercial rights.

Never negotiate with terrorists

Never negotiate with terrorists

John Adams was appalled by the Barbary terror… but felt the bribe was worth paying to maintain peace.  This policy carried over to the new Federal government and the Washington administration.  The negotiations would take place yearly, the tribute increased, yet the results were a travesty.  Jefferson predicted that negotiations and payment would only embolden the terrorists and prompt more and bolder transgressions.  When elected President in 1800, Jefferson made pacifying the Barbary states his #1 foreign policy initiative.

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Weekly History News Roundup

King Tut recreated through digital imagerybone scans yield surprising results

 

Monument to black Revolutionary War soldiers… designers approved to build $6million project on National Mall

 

Colleges don’t require historysurvey of graduation requirements discovers lack of history and government courses  at most schools

 

John and Abigail Adams celebrate 250th anniversary… historical sites around Boston prepared for celebrations

 

Hull of the CSA Hunley becoming visible… restoration is slowly exposing the Confederate submarine’s shell

 

250 years of history...and happiness

250 years of history…and happiness

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