John Adams, the 2nd President, wrote, April 26, 1777:
“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it
If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”
His son, John Quincy Adams, the 6th President, stated, March 4, 1825:
“‘Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain,’ with fervent supplications for His favor, to His overruling providence I commit with humble but fearless confidence my own fate and the future destinies of my country.”
John Quincy Adams’ son, Charles Francis Adams, was a Congressman from Massachusetts who Lincoln appointed U.S. Minister to Britain, where he helped England stay neutral during the Civil War.
He published the letters of his grandmother, Abigail Adams, and The Works of John Adams, Esq., Second President of the United States.
Charles Francis Adams’ son, Henry Adams, was a historian who wrote from his unique perspective of being related to some of America’s founders.
In his 9-volume work, History of the United States (C. Scribner’s Son, 1889), Henry Adams wrote:
“The Pilgrims of Plymouth, the Puritans of Boston, the Quakers of Pennsylvania, all avowed a moral purpose, and began by making institutions that consciously reflected a moral idea.”
Henry Adams wrote of Jefferson’s attitude toward the Federal Government:
“Not three years had passed since Jefferson himself penned…the Kentucky Resolutions, in which he declared
‘that in cases of an abuse…where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy…
each State has a natural right…to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits;
that without this right they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them.’”
Henry Adams continued regarding Jefferson:
“He went so far as to advise that every State should forbid, within its borders, the execution of any act of the general government ‘not plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution’…
Kentucky and Virginia…acted on the principle so far as to declare certain laws of the United States unconstitutional, with the additional understanding that whatever was unconstitutional was void…
Jefferson and his followers held that freedom could be maintained only by preserving inviolate the right of every State to judge for itself what was, or was not, lawful.”
Henry Adams became a professor at Harvard in 1870.
One of Henry Adams’ students was Henry Cabot Lodge, who later as U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, thwarted Woodrow Wilson’s efforts to have the United States submit to the League of Nations.
Henry Cabot Lodge addressed the New England Society of Brooklyn, 1888:
“Let every man honor and love the land of his birth and the race from which he springs…
But let us have done with British-Americans and Irish-Americans and German-Americans, and so on, and all be Americans…
If a man is going to be an American at all let him be so without any qualifying adjectives; and if he is going to be something else, let him drop the word American from his personal description.”
Henry Adams had tickets for the Titanic’s return voyage to Europe in 1912. He suffered a stroke when he heard that it sank.
Henry Adams died MARCH 27, 1918.
Henry Adams’ student, Henry Cabot Lodge, warned:
“The United States is the world’s best hope, but if you fetter her in the interests and quarrels of other nations…you will…endanger her very existence.
Leave her to march freely through the centuries to come…strong, generous, and confident…
Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance; this great land of ordered liberty. For if we stumble and fall, freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin.”
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.
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