Saturday, March 20, 2010


In effect, the Americans had signed a separate peace with the British. They had acted in direct violation of both the French-American alliance and their specific instructions from Congress to abide by the advice of the French foreign minister. To Adams there was no conflict in what they had done. The decision to break with the orders from Congress, and thus break faith with the French, had been clear-cut, the only honorable course. Congress had left them no choice. Congress had "prostituted" its own honor by surrendering its sovereignty to the French Foreign Minister. "It is glory to have broken such infamous orders," Adams wrote in his diary. "Infamous I say, for so they will be to all posterity."
David McCullough, John Adams (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001), 283.
John Adams was a stubborn man. So stubborn to his own beliefs, liberty, and focus on America that he would not play lacquey to a group of men with their own agenda. He was certainly vilified for his stance(s) and history has not always remembered him in the fondest of light. However, I am continously impressed as I read about the account of his dealings with the French during the American Revolution. The French (along with Ben Franklin) wanted independence as long as it was convenient for them. Therefore, all of their "help" was given or held back based completely on their own selfish desires. Adams had the guts to stand up against that - and held his ground even in the face of being disapproved & ridiculed.

Sometimes disobedience is the the absolute right move to make. The difficulty becomes deciding when one must obey & when one must forge their own path. In choosing to disregard orders, a person will put themselves in the line of fire & have to explain their actions. Even in doing so, a person can face punishment and the smearing of their character. However, time has a way of bringing honor to one's choice if it was made correctly. Congress was weak - Adams was right. His stubborn patriotism may not have been popular with everyone, but it was what his country needed. What decisions are you being asked to make today that you believe are wrong? The key is being able to defend your actions. Disobedience will always cost you - and you must be able to give an answer for the choices that you make. Be careful in choosing to disobey - because the cost is high if you are in the wrong.