Forming America: John Adams’ Thoughts on Government

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1828

In the sweltering Philadelphia spring of 1776 — before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and after Massachusetts’ John Adams had established himself as a leader in the Second Continental Congress — he wrote down his letter/essay Thoughts on Government: Applicable to the Present State of the American Colonies.

Delegates from other colonies had approached Adams requesting these thoughts. They were responding to efforts back home to form state constitutions.

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Adams wrote just under 3,000 words, a powerful philosophy which would lead the forming of several state documents and the Constitution of the United States. Within those words, he actually profiles and analyzes America’s federal government today-first, what it should be, and second, what it really is.

First, Adams stresses:

…the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best.

Happiness. It’s a keyword his friend Thomas Jefferson also used in finalizing the Declaration of Independence, the Congress’s announcement to the world of an American Revolution that had already begun: “…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Adams notes that, to provide Happiness for its people, a government must possess “virtue”: “All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue,” says Adams in his letter/essay.

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But then Adams quickly contrasts those requirements for good government to what existed at the time, and certainly flagrantly exists in our government today:

Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.

But we Americans today have approved it, primarily by not educating ourselves to the basics of good government and a solid economy. And therefore we have let our federal government envelop us with such fear for our security and welfare, we seem helpless and prostrate before a military-industrial complex engaged in endless war, oligarchy, and media conglomerates that corroborate in dictatorial population control and crimes against humanity. We have a federal government that would rather invade foreign countries with aggressive war and build corporate empire than assure its own citizens’ economic and personal health, education, and individual freedom.

Just look at America, from the last six years’ lowest public opinion polls for presidents and Congress, to the state of the depressed economy, to the breedings for revolution rising in the Occupy Wall Street movement nationwide, to the growing police state’s response to it.

The degrading of America has been caused by men and women we have admitted to the presidency, Congress, and the laws they’ve approved allowing massive corporate, police, and military control. If you don’t believe this, look at the causes of the economic meltdown; the over-aggressive police response to the Occupy movement; the massive proliferation of security cameras throughout the nation; spread of a nationwide federal surveillance operation through Homeland Security; the president’s recent signing of a defense appropriations bill which includes authority for the military to arrest and hold American citizens without trial; and a new law allowing for populating our country’s skies with unmanned drone planes designed for surveillance, war and killing.

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Adams emphasizes in his Thoughts:

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The principal difficulty lies, and the greatest care should be employed, in constituting this representative assembly. It should be in miniature an exact portrait of the people at large. It should think, feel, reason, and act like them.

Does that sound like your Congress, made up of a majority of millionaires? Does that sound like your presidents who talk a good game of democracy but continue to move forward in effort to unravel individual rights and build empire? Does that sound like your banks and corporations which continue to merge to control markets, increase profits while holding down wages and attempting to limit or end employee benefits? These are not imaginations. Just read and heed, but you’d best be paying attention to writings and voices not under the major media’s control. You can start with the links below.

And you’d best follow John Adams’ and his cohorts’ lead in pressing for a free America, if not for your own good, at least for the happiness of your children and future generations.

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In other words, get organized, get educated, and get active.

John Adams’ Thoughts on Government: http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=592&chapter=76854&layout=html&Itemid=27

The economic meltdown: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/money-power-wall-street/

The Occupy Movement: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/o/occupy_wall_street/index.html

Security cameras, drones, surveillance: http://voices.yahoo.com/cameras-phone-taps-drones-oh-my-10374303.html

Drones in the U.S.: http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/send-in-the-drones

Homeland Security and top-secret America: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/

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Military indefinite detention of Americans: http://www.salon.com/2011/12/16/three_myths_about_the_detention_bill/

The Millionaire Congress: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/11/47-of-congress-members-millionaires-a-status-shared-by-only-1-of-americans/