John Adams: Poor Man Rich Man

Maybe we all want what we can't have or never knew.

John Adams was a 'new man' who was from a Puritan background in the Northeast. He didn't grow up on a great estate or have real land or title compared with his Southern colleagues like Thomas Jefferson, but you may have not guessed that from his writing.

John Adams praised the aristocrats as those of high breeding and of the 'most capable' stock.

Never before and never after was a president so accused of being a Monarchist. He wanted pomp and circumstance and a sense of awe in government - politicians and military men should have been able to earn fanciful titles such as His Excellency.

He justified these old world ideas of title and honor in government because he felt that in a society, there will inevitably be a group of oligarchs that rise up to form an aristocracy and having a 'higher' office will make them work for the state and not against it.

This is all logical, but in his letters and writings, you can't help but get the sense that he genuinely admired this gifted/moneyed class even though he himself had no regard for his personal interest.

He was certainly not a poor man, but by the standards of the times, he was not a rich man either- he just thought like he was.

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