Friends Divided

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

Gordon S. Wood, 2017 . 973.3092 WOO . Beaverton Library

I sampled about 40% of this book. Adams and Jefferson are fascinating people, but there is much to read and too little time.

The book is a combined biography of these two men, their collaboration during the Revolutionary War and as ambassadors to France (pre and post revolution), their split into the the Federalist and Republican ( ~= modern Democrat) factions, and their reconciliation. I was most interested in the reconciliation; cleverly arranged by Benjamin Rush, the epistolary reconciliation was quick and almost painless. Afterwards, Adams was occasionally irascible, but Jefferson was accomodating; as long as one party is patient, a conflict can fade away.

.p18 Jefferson, 1785, northerners "cool, sober, laborious, persevering, independent, jealous of their own liberties, and just to those of others, interested, chicaning, superstitious, and hypocritical in their religion." southerners "fiery, voluptuary, indolent, unsteady, independent, zealous for their own liberties but trampling on those of others, generous, candid, and without attachments or pretensions to any religion but that of the heart."