The Thought for the Day – John Adams

{We should} invite the people to erect the whole building with their own hands, upon the broadest foundation…For the people {are} the source of all authority and power. – John Adams

John Adams was the second president of the United States. While his term as president was undistinguished, his contributions as a Founding Father of the United States were not.

A complete recital of Adams’ accomplishments is beyond the scope of The Thought for the Day, but Adams did have significant influence on the Declaration of Independence. Though Adams did not write it, he was on the committee that was charged to write it, and he was instrumental in convincing the others on the committee, especially Thomas Jefferson, that Jefferson should be left alone to produce what would become one of mankind’s seminal works. He was also very active in getting the Declaration passed by the Continental Congress, and in keeping Jefferson from pulling his hair out while Congress edited and rewrote Jefferson’s production.

{We should} invite the people to erect the whole building with their own hands, upon the broadest foundation…

Of course, only white males were allowed to vote back then, but Adams knew that limiting power only to the wealthy or land owning white males would not do his new country any good and his long experience told him that the average American could be trusted with governing himself.

For the people {are} the source of all authority and power…

We are the possessors of the legacy of government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is sometimes easy to forget that because lost in the cacophony of Tweets and memes and five thousand TV channels is the fact our elected leaders get their authority from us. Us Americans have, from the founding of this republic, always received the government we elected. When we elect well our country does well. When we do not do well, our nation flounders.

The choice, however, is always ours. America remains a building erected and maintained by our hands.

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