Conversations Before Independence Day

by Chidem Kurdas

The July 3rd, 1776, letter John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, after voting for the declaration of independence, is justly famous for his prediction that the occasion will be celebrated “by succeeding Generations, …..solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

In fact the letter starts with a complaint about the ill effects of the decision being delayed for seven months. It ends with the admission that independence carries a high cost in “Toil and Blood and Treasure.” This is the sort of thing that gave John Adams the reputation of being grumpy.

Then you realize that his words are like gold, no matter how crotchety he gets. Between his pride in the declaration and annoyance that it took so long, he provides a model of how major national decisions should be made. Continue reading