Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson as Founders of New Nation and Creators of the Constitution
Samuel Addams and Thomas Jefferson were among the Founding Fathers of American independence, whose contribution in establishing the new nation is difficult to overestimate. Their ideas turned into cornerstones of American liberties, set fourth in the Constitution. Having become almost legendary characters after death, at life they were human beings with own thoughts, ideals and mistakes. And these are not only their ideas, but their personal qualities, which influenced the newly formed State and which continue to influence America today. Therefore, their personalities are attracting attention of scholars until now.
Alexander Winston observed, that Adams “made politics his only profession and rebellion his only business” (Oates, 93). Indeed, this was a prominent writer and political philosopher. He used both his authority and personal example to gain support of the colonists in rebellion against British rule and in the following drafting of the basic papers, establishing the new state, such as Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Adams’s influence was decisive in persuading the representatives of Massachusetts to take the side of the colonial government after Intolerable Acts of 1774 (Puls, Mark, 235).
It was Adams, who advocated the principles or republicanism in the embryonic American political culture. After the USA gained it’s independence, he contributed to reaching compromise between federalists and anti-federalists in drafting Articles of Confederation and first amendments to the Constitution. The Constitution has been barely ratified in Massachusetts only due to Adams efforts, however, this, perhaps costed him his political career. Adams failed to be elected to the 1st US Congress in 1789, but was elected as Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts, where he served until 1797, when he left the political arena (Oates, 100).
Like Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson played a decisive role in promotion of ideas of republicanism in America, being a principal author of the Declaration of Independence. His political ideal was a broad autonomy of single States with strictly limited powers of the federal government. Being a plantation owner, Jefferson strongly favored yeoman farmers as examples of republican virtues, but, surprisingly, supported the idea of separation of Church and State when creating Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (Bennett, William J, 99).
To realize his ideas, Jefferson created the Jeffersonian Republican party, which later became known as the Democratic-Republican Party and dominated the political scene for almost a quarter of a century. His political career developed from the position of Governor of Virginia to the Secretary of State and than to the vice-President and the 3rd President of the United States.
Jefferson is frequently accused of being a slave-owner and thusly his ideals of equity seem to be racist, since he actually supported the segregated society. However, it should be remembered, that Jefferson was nothing more, than a son of his time, when the very nature rights included only white population to social life, and the afro-Americans were politically “non-existent” (Oates, 110). Jefferson’s contribution to development of American state belongs to the other field. It is in support of republican ideas as foundation fro political freedoms, which is still present until now.
1. Stephen B. Oates, Charles J. Errico, Portrait of America, Vol. 1, Eighth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, New York, 2003
2. Puls, Mark. Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006
3. Bennett, William J. “The Greatest Revolution”, America: The Last Best Hope (Volume I): From the Age of Discovery to a World at War. Nelson Current, 2006