American History

#OTD 1735: John Adams Revolutionary leader, ‘ Declaration of Independence ‘ First Vice President & Second President of U.S

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#AceHistoryDesk – Today in History – On October 30, 1735: John Adams – Revolutionary leader, Declaration of Independence signer, creator and theorist of constitutions, leading diplomat, first vice president and second president of the United States—was born in Braintree, Massachusetts.

John Adams/C. Tiebout sct.. Cornelius Tiebout, engraver; [between 1796-1799]. Popular Graphic Arts. Prints & Photographs Division

His father was a farmer and maker of fine shoes who was also a deacon in the Congregational Church. Educated in the local public Latin school and then at a private academy, young John also grew up “[spending] my time … in making and sailing boats and Ships upon the Ponds and Brooks, in making and flying Kites, in driving hoops, playing marbles, playing Quoits, Wrestling, Swimming, Skaiting and above all in shooting, to which Diversion I was addicted.” By the time he entered Harvard College in 1751, he seemed destined to become a clergyman. Yet with the intellectual independence and self-confidence that marked his character, Adams privately developed some theological doubts; and when he graduated in 1755, he deferred a choice of profession to take a position teaching school.

A year in the town of Worcester instructing “a large number of little runtlings, just capable of lisping A.B.C.” convinced him that teaching was no more congenial than the ministry, and he turned at last to the study of the law. Admitted to the bar in 1758, Adams came home to Braintree to begin his practice with a depth of knowledge and enthusiasm that was soon matched by his courtroom skill. His reputation grew; and by the time his courtship of the brilliant and spirited Abigail Smith ended in 1764 in a marriage of true minds that sustained them both for more than half a century, John Adams had every reason to believe himself permanently settled in a contented life.

That very year, however, the British Parliament passed the Sugar Act to tax their American colonies following the French and Indian War, the North American part of a multinational conflict that had depleted Britain’s treasury. Surprised, the colonists objected: lacking representation in Parliament, they argued that they could not be taxed. Surprised, Parliament ignored them; and followed up in 1765 with the Stamp Act, a tax on the paper used in legal documents and printed materials. This time, the colonists were ready, and as organized and sometimes violent opposition flared, John Adams joined in by taking up his pen.

The bloody massacre perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 1770… Paul Revere, engraver. Boston: Engrav’d Printed & Sold by Paul Revere, 1770. Cartoon Prints, American. Prints & Photographs Division

For the next decade, while most of Britain’s North American colonies clashed repeatedly with the British government over rights and principles, Adams published learned and boldly argumentative writings that helped shape the debate on a continental scale. Yet when tensions first turned lethal in the so-called “Boston Massacre” of March 5, 1770–as nervous British soldiers opened fire on an aggressively hostile crowd, killing five—it was Adams the independent thinker and masterly trial lawyer who took the soldiers’ case, successfully arguing that “facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes,…they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence” that the defendants were not guilty of murder. It was, Adams boasted, “one of the best Pieces of service I ever rendered my Country,” a triumph for the rule of law.

When eroding hopes for reconciliation took the form of a first Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1774, it was only natural that Adams take his place among the Massachusetts delegates. When a second such Congress assembled the following year, after shots had been exchanged at Lexington and Concord, Adams was there also: urging that George Washington be made head of the new Continental Army; chairing dozens of committees; drafting legislation; serving on the committee to craft a Declaration of Independence and persuading Thomas Jefferson to be its principal author; and arguing so persuasively for independence that Jefferson is said to have dubbed him “our Colossus on the floor.

Declaration of Independence: July 4th 1776. John Trumbull, artist; [New York]: Lith. & Pub. N. Currier, 2 Spruce St., N.Y.[between 1835 and 1856]. Popular Graphic Arts. Prints & Photographs Division

With independence declared, the need to obtain European recognition and support for the fledgling nation became a task as urgent as military victory, and in 1778 Adams was among the first to be sent to secure it. He was accompanied by his eldest son, 11-year-old John Quincy, preparing for a memorable career of his own. For the first time, however, John Adams’s patriotic service was a source of unhappiness. The same qualities that had made him a brilliant trial lawyer and polemicist of revolution—his stubborn independence of mind, keen sense of the worth of his own abilities, and delight in learned argumentation—rendered him among the least diplomatic of men, isolating him both from his American colleagues and from the wily Europeans whose cooperation he needed. Benjamin Franklin, a fellow envoy, reached the limit of exasperation: Adams, he declared, “is always an honest Man and often a Wise One, but sometimes and in some things absolutely out of his Senses.”

Adams briefly returned to the United States in time to draft the 1780 Massachusetts state constitution–a task so gratifying that it rightly became one of his proudest achievements, and significantly influenced the 1787 national constitution’s design. Then he was sent back to Europe; where, despite obtaining recognition and loans from the Netherlands, helping craft the Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolution in 1783, and several years as U.S. minister to Great Britain with Abigail beside him at last, Adams felt frustrated, unappreciated, and in more than one sense entirely too far from home.

Portrait of Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blyth]. Original painting owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society; Harris & Ewing, photographer, [between 1910 and 1920]. Harris & Ewing Collection. Prints & Photographs Division

His wish to return came true in 1788. Yet by then, a new government had been framed for the United States, and Adams’s dreams of a quiet retirement with Abigail and their four living children were soon abandoned for a fresh opportunity to serve his country and repair what he regarded as a reputation unjustly obscured. On April 21, 1789, he became Vice President of the United States.

That Adams came to see his job for the next eight years as “the most insignificant Office that ever the Invention of Man contrived or his Imagination conceived” was not entirely his fault. President Washington, intent on building a durable role for the chief executive, focused on structuring his cabinet and relations with Congress and neglected the vice presidency. The Senate, meanwhile, decided that the vice president’s role should be limited to what the Constitution prescribed: Adams should preside over its debates, but not participate in them.

To a man of words and argument, such stifling was almost intolerable. Yet Adams’s solutions were self-inflicted wounds. First, he busied himself proposing titles for government officials that combined the royalist with the ridiculous (“His Elective Majesty” was one for the president; “His High Mightiness the President of the United States,” another). Then, he fell back on the comfort of erudition, writing a book of constitutional theory that he hoped would instruct his countrymen in the timeless wisdom of history– but that was misread instead as a defense of monarchy and aristocracy.

The White House (“President’s House”) Washington, D.C. East front elevation] / B H Latrobe 1807. S.P.B.U States. Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect, 1807. Prints & Photographs Division

The presidency that Adams won narrowly in 1796 over his old friend Thomas Jefferson might have been his reward; instead, it, too, was something close to a disaster. Seeking to honor his predecessor, who like him was now identified with the Federalist Party, Adams retained Washington’s cabinet, unaware until far too late that its members were secretly taking direction from Alexander Hamilton rather than from himself. When smoldering relations with France flamed towards war, Adams acquiesced in the Alien and Sedition Acts, measures so repressive of civil liberties that they provoked a constitutional crisis and have remained a touchstone of incipient tyranny in national memory ever since. Most sadly for Adams himself, those acts overshadowed his admirable decision to halt the popular march to war when he saw the opportunity. In the end, his presidency’s greatest achievements came at its close, in his appointment of the peerless John Marshall as Chief Justice of the United States; and in his prompt and peaceful relinquishment of power after Jefferson defeated him in the election of 1800. As Adams the lawyer must have appreciated, that was a formative precedent indeed.

So John Adams retired at last to Quincy (the town that had absorbed Braintree), spending the final years of his life in the spacious home he called Peacefield. There he read and read and wrote and wrote, irrepressibly as always, commenting humorously and sometimes bitterly on humankind, trying to set the record straight about his place in history, quarreling with some old friends and reconciling with others whom politics had estranged. One reconciliation became his final years’ great consolation, as in 1812 he and Jefferson renewed their ancient friendship: “You and I, ought not to die,” wrote Adams, with typical disarming candor, “before We have explained ourselves to each other.” The result was as rich a correspondence as any in American history.

The “Old House,” home to two presidents: John and John Quincy Adams, Quincy, Massachusetts. Carol M. Highsmith, photographer, [between 1980 – 2006]. Highsmith (Carol M.) Archive. Prints & Photographs Division

Abigail Adams died in October 1818. John Quincy Adams became president in 1825. John Adams, like Thomas Jefferson, died at home on July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years from the Declaration they had made. In the nation’s capital, Adams’s monument is the Adams Building of the Library of Congress, an institution that as president he had signed into law. It is a fitting tribute to a courageous and stubbornly principled man who steered a revolution, and then sought to secure it with the wisdom that knowledge brings.

Library of Congress (“Annex Building”), Washington, D.C. Perspective rendering] (John Adams Building). Pierson & Wilson, Architect, [1936]. Prints & Photographs Division
  1. With the intention of more accurately reflecting a solar year, Britain and its colonies replaced the Julian (“Old Style”) Calendar with the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, adjusting all dates forward by eleven days. This is our present calendar. John Adams’s October 19 birth date therefore became the “New Style” date of October 30.(Return to text)

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NASA: Trick Or Treat Adventures For Children ‘ Not So Spooky ‘ Smiling

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#AceBreakingNews – Not-So-Spooky Space Resources Make Preschool Learning Fun

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has caught the sun “smiling”. (Supplied: NASA ) NONE

This Halloween night, future explorers will take to the sidewalks on trick-or-treat adventures and NASA and its partners are making it easier for them to “try on” identities as space adventurers and pioneers.

Our Sun

Curiosity and the thrill of discovery can spark a lifelong love of exploration in even the youngest children.

Children learn about the world around them through play and new experiences. By nurturing their innate inquisitiveness and imagination, the adults in their lives can help them engage in science before age 5, developing a strong foundation to build upon as they enter the K-12 years.

A treat for parents and little pumpkins alike, the Noggin learning app by Nick Jr. brings NASA-collaborated inspirational resources to preschool age children. NASA and Noggin began working together in 2020 to highlight space careers and concepts through live interactions, videos, games, and more. A live interaction with astronauts aboard the International Space Station featured questions provided by preschools across the country, and the Rhymes Through Times episode “My Best” introduces NASA legends Katherine Johnson and Guion Bluford, Jr. while demonstrating the power of math in space exploration. 

Picture of Saturn with a witch riding a broom in front of it.

As nights grow longer and spooky season activities transpire beneath the stars and moonlight, October is a great time to launch a love of space science for little ones. Here are some fun activities families can do together to “space out” this Halloween!

The agency also offers safe online playgrounds that preschoolers can explore with their grown-ups. NASA Kids Club encourages children to learn about NASA and its missions through inspirational games and activities, a gallery of fascinating space imagery, and more. NASA Space Place offers fun games and engaging activities, videos, and stories, including materials in English and Spanish.

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2022: Editor: Helga Schmidt

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Trying to Please Others

We may not realize until we are adults that we are living our life to make our parents happy.

Most of us come to a point in our lives when we question why we are doing what we are doing, and many of us realize that we may be living our lives in an effort to make our parents happy. This realization can dawn when we are in our twenties, our forties, or even later, depending on how tight a hold our family of origin has on our psyche. We may feel shocked or depressed by this information, but we can trust that it is coming to us at this time because we are ready to find out what it would mean to live our lives for ourselves by following the call of our own soul and refusing to be beholden to someone else’s expectations.

One of the most common reasons we are so tied into making our parents, or others, happy is that we were not properly nurtured when we were children. We were not honored as individuals in our own right, with a will and purpose of our own. As a result, we learned to look outside of ourselves for approval, support, and direction, rather than within. The good news is that the part of us that was not adequately nurtured is still there, inside us, like a seed that has not yet received the sunlight and moisture it needs to open and to allow its inner contents to unfurl. It is never too late to provide ourselves with what we need.

There are many ways to create a safe container for ourselves so that we can turn within and shine the light of awareness there. We may join a support group, go to therapy, or start a practice of journaling. This experience of becoming is well worth the difficult work that may be required. In whatever process we choose, we may feel worse before we feel better, but we will ultimately find out how to live our lives for ourselves and how to make ourselves happy.

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BREAKING BRAZIL ELECTION REPORT: Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva beats Jair Bolsonaro denying him 2nd term

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#AceBreakingNews – Leftist former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has won Brazil’s bitterly-fought election, denying far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro a second term.

Play Video. Duration: 48 seconds
Supporters celebrate Lula election win.

Mr da Silva, universally known as Lula, called for “peace and unity” after winning the election on Sunday night, Brazil time.

With 98.8 per cent of the votes tallied in the runoff vote, Mr da Silva had 50.8 per cent and Mr Bolsonaro 49.2 per cent. Brazil’s election authority said Mr da Silva’s victory was a mathematical certainty.

” Today the only winner is the Brazilian people,” the 77-year-old told supporters at a hotel in downtown Sao Paulo………..” This isn’t a victory of mine or the Workers’ Party, nor the parties that supported me in [the] campaign.

“It’s the victory of a democratic movement that formed above political parties, personal interests and ideologies so that democracy came out victorious.”

Mr Bolsonaro, 67, was silent in the hours after the result was declared.

“Anywhere in the world, the losing president would already have called to admit defeat. He hasn’t called yet, I don’t know if he will call and concede,” Mr da Silva told a large crowd at the hotel.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks with a microphone up to his mouth, next to his wife Rosangela Lula da Silva.
Mr da Silva speaks at an election night gathering, supported by his wife Rosangela da Silva(Reuters: Carla Carniel)none

With no word from Mr Bolsonaro, some of his key allies appeared in public to accept the results, including the speaker of the lower house of Congress, Arthur Lira, who said it was time to “extend a hand to our adversaries, debate, build bridges”.

Mr da Silva served as president for two terms between 2003 and 2010, but was jailed on corruption charges in 2017.

He was released in 2019, with all convictions being annulled last year.

Mr Bolsonaro had been leading throughout the first half of the count and, as soon as Mr da Silva overtook him, drivers in the streets of downtown Sao Paulo began honking their car horns.Jair Bolsonaro at a polling station on Sunday.(Reuters: Bruna Prado/Pool)none

People gathered in Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema neighbourhood could be heard shouting “it turned”.

Most opinion polls before the election gave a lead to Mr da Silva though political analysts agreed the race grew increasingly tight in recent weeks.

For months, it appeared that Mr da Silva was headed for easy victory as he kindled nostalgia for his presidency, when the economy was booming and welfare helped millions join the middle class.

His victory marks the first time since Brazil’s 1985 return to democracy that the sitting president has failed to win re-election. Lula da Silva defeats Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential election.

The two candidates had diametrically opposed visions for Brazil.

Mr Bolsonaro had promised to continue the right-wing policies of his government, while Mr da Silva promised a return to the socialist policies implemented in his previous terms.

Mr Bolsonaro had previously indicated he may not accept the results of the election if he lost.Mr da Silva speaks at an event earlier in 2022.(Reuters: Carla Carniel)none

World leaders congratulated Mr da Silva on his victory:

US President Joe Biden said he’d won in “free, fair and credible” elections.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the two leaders would “renew ties of friendship between their countries”.


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