And may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessing upon this nation and its Government and give it all possible success and duration consistent with the ends of His providence.- John Adams (1735-1826), American Founding Father and second president of the United States, First Inaugural Address (1797).
Adams is an overlooked member of the founding generation, and he was easily the most accomplished scholar of that group. Trained as a lawyer but with a deep grounding in the classics (with a command of both Latin & Greek), Adams was well-versed not only in English legal theory but in the theological and philosophical controversies of the day. While Jefferson has a reputation of being a deep thinker, Adams actually was one. For Russell Kirk, Adams was an intellectual giant among our nation's presents. Thanks to the work of David McCulloch and the miniseries based on his book about Adams there has been a bit more appreciation of Adams, but not nearly enough.