The Thought for the Day/Monday, September 3, 2018

For Adams, the American Revolution was about opportunity: the opportunity for the people to govern themselves and the opportunity for an individual to achieve whatever his merit could earn.
John Ferling
Setting The World Ablaze: Washington, Adams and Jefferson and the American Revolution


John Ferling is an American historian and writer who for many years taught history at the University of West Georgia. He is considered by those smarter than us to be a foremost authority on the founding of the American republic and his book Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 is also very good. Today’s Thought was written about John Adams, one of the leading figures of the American Revolution.

America’s Founding Fathers, and there many more than our first three presidents, were a collection visionary men who were not afraid to set the world ablaze. Now, of course, their “all men are created equal” line really only meant white, landowning males were created equal. On the other hand, they were traitors putting their lives and fortunes on the line and what they ended up creating has endured into its third century, sometimes in spite of itself.

…the American Revolution was about opportunity.

We may not found republics, but we can’t be afraid to set the world ablaze. The Founding Fathers made and then took advantage of their opportunities and we must do the same. Now, just because you set out to do something doesn’t mean you are going to do it. There are too many random people leading too many random lives and there are many things that out of our hands. However, those that get on in this world go out and create their opportunities by taking advantage of what nature and circumstance put in front of them.

…the opportunity for an individual to achieve whatever his merit could earn.

Unless you are born into circumstances that give you no chance – and if you are reading this this probably isn’t you – we all have the opportunity to achieve whatever our merits and efforts can get us. All of us – you, me, your aunt in Leadville – all have 24 hours every day, the only commodity each of us is issued in equal measure. We must make those 24 hours serve us by having a plan for our lives, executing that plan every day and having the patience to see our journey through to the very end.

We may not set the world ablaze or, then again, we might. We have an obligation – both individual and collective – to try.

Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quote book, begun in 1988 in a hotel room in Berkeley, California.

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