John Adams Recap - Part 5

April 7, 2008 By:
John Adams Recap - Part 5

Last week John Adams and Thomas Jefferson discussed in passing the difference between a strong central authority and a government truly by the people.  What Adams feared then, and what he continues to fear, is the idea of mob rule.  Jefferson, on the other hand, is a revolutionary.  He believes in the power and the rightness of people to govern themselves without any sort of central authority sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong.  This is the beginning of the two party system as we know it.    

In a cabinet meeting, Adams does make the point that their needs to be a checks and balance between a central authority and the people, hence no one can be left out.  Of course he says this with the arrogant and hard-nosed Treasurer Alexander Hamilton present, talking about establishing a Central Bank.  President Washington, it seems, isn't completely convinced in this idea, and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson completely opposed the Central Bank idea. 

Getting back to his family, Adams is presented as a stubborn old geezer who has certain plans for his children.  Two of his children have married, and all of them are in some sort of law profession with the exception of his daughter.  Charles seems to be the outspoken rebel citing the fact that during his formative years his father was in Europe living in palaces and talking to heads of state.
But it's hard to shake work and family in this new union when France is going through a revolution of its own and seeks the assistance, understandably so, of the United States.  After all France was a central factor in America winning the war against Britain.  But with idea of building economic stability and international trade relationships on the table, the Washington Administration, with the exception of Jefferson who was admittedly influential in the French drafting their Declaration of Independence, wants to remain neutral in the matter.  It seemed that Adams was the vocal proponent of neutrality that Washington really listened to… and at the price of some public opinion.

If you haven't caught any of these episodes, I highly recommend them.  It's on HBO Sunday nights at 9pm.  If you have OnDemand you can find past eps there.  Paul Giamatti is guaranteed an Emmy.  Laura Linney too.