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Impact of Thomas Jefferson on John Adams based on David McCullough's bioigraphy - Essay Example

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Author : elmiralueilwitz


David McCullough uses his portrayal of Thomas Jefferson in the biography John Adams almost as a Shakespearean foil to his main subject, and with just cause. There are many similarities between the two gentlemen, both of whom were instrumental in the United States formative years, through their drafting of its documental foundation, in its recognition by foreign powers, and then through their guidance as respective presidents…

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Impact of Thomas Jefferson on John Adams based on David McCullough's bioigraphy

Both men reveal an ongoing influence upon the other. In the later years, the author hints of a vilification of Jefferson to Adams in the mind of the popular press, yet the text itself implies otherwise, describing situations with a latent sympathy to the old comrades. Specifically, this paper will examine several key comparisons of the text which impart a moral description of Adams through ertain excesses of Jefferson.
Jefferson is first introduced at the gathering of the Second Continental Congress, an opportunity the author uses to make a physical comparison with Adams, for where Adams was "stout, Jefferson was lean Where Adams was bald, Jefferson had a full head of thick coppery hair" (111). McCullough lists a number of other comparisons, of which the two most important ones were Adams hailing from Massachusetts while Jefferson came from a financially well-off Virginian aristocracy, thus, while both were extremely practiced in law, "Jefferson had never relished the practice of law as Adams had, nor felt the financial need to keep at it." (114). Jefferson is portrayed as speaking very little at this Congress, being deferential to Adams in almost all matters, although the gentlemen in general held a mutual respect and admiration for the other. ...
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