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The Rivalry and Friendship of Jefferson and Adams: A Conversation with Gordon Wood

with Gordon S. Wood

Gordon Wood, the great historian of 18th century American political thought, returns to Liberty Law Talk to discuss his latest book Friends Divided.

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on June 04, 2018 at 17:08:03 pm

Nice episode! quite informative.

How sad it must be for these two polar *compatriots* to see that the settlement reached, i.e., COTUS, has now been "moved" far to the Northern pole of (near) hereditary aristocracy (our governing elites).

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gabe
on June 05, 2018 at 11:17:28 am

The difference between a Whig/Federalist like Adams and a democratic Republican like Jefferson is the subject of Chapters 3 and 7 of Richard D. Brown's "Revolutionary Politics in Massachusetts: The Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Towns 177-1774" (1970).

The Boston CC clearly reflected the liberal British Whig orientation the town had moved to after 1760 as is described by GB Warden in "Boston 1689-1776" (1970). The BCC wrote to the towns in the language of Locke and Blackstone. The Towns replied in the language of Coke, the Bible and the radical republicans who thrashed out the Massachusetts brand of democratic republicanism in the 1630s.

Both these books are long out of print and neither Brown nor Warden seem to appreciate how politically radical the first generation of the Massachusetts Bay settlers were or how this radical republicanism had become the political norm in the majority of towns outside of Boston, Cambridge, Salem and Charlestown. Of course, this rural radical republicanism was also a surprise to Samuel and John Adams; but Thomas Young (a member of the BCC), Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson recognized it immediately.

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EK

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