Example research essay topic: John Adams And The Revolutionary War – 581 words

Learned and thoughtful, John Adams was more
remarkable as a political philosopher than as a
politician. “People and nations are forged in the
fires of adversity,” he said, doubtless thinking
of his own as well as the American experience.
Adams was born in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in
1735. A Harvard-educated lawyer, he early became
identified with the patriot cause; a delegate to
the First and Second Continental Congresses, he
led in the movement for independence. During the
Revolutionary War he served in France and Holland
in diplomatic roles, and helped negotiate the
treaty of peace. From 1785 to 1788 he was minister
to the Court of St. James’s, returning to be
elected Vice President under George Washington.
Adams’ two terms as Vice President were
frustrating experiences for a man of his vigor,
intellect, and vanity.

He complained to his wife
Abigail, “My country has in its wisdom contrived
for me the most insignificant office that ever the
invention of man contrived or his imagination
conceived.” When Adams became President, the war
between the French and British was causing great
difficulties for the United States on the high
seas and intense partisanship among contending
factions within the Nation. His administration
focused on France, where the Directory, the ruling
group, had refused to receive the American envoy
and had suspended commercial relations. Adams sent
three commissioners to France, but in the spring
of 1798 word arrived that the French Foreign
Minister Talleyrand and the Directory had refused
to negotiate with them unless they would first pay
a substantial bribe. Adams reported the insult to
Congress, and the Senate printed the
correspondence, in which the Frenchmen were
referred to only as “X, Y, and Z.” The Nation
broke out into what Jefferson called “the X. Y. Z.
fever,” increased in intensity by Adams’s
exhortations.

The populace cheered itself hoarse
wherever the President appeared. Never had the
Federalists been so popular. Congress appropriated
money to complete three new frigates and to build
additional ships, and authorized the raising of a
provisional army. It also passed the Alien and
Sedition Acts, intended to frighten foreign agents
out of the country and to stifle the attacks of
Republican editors. President Adams did not call
for a declaration of war, but hostilities began at
sea. At first, American shipping was almost
defenseless against French privateers, but by 1800
armed merchantmen and U.S.

warships were clearing
the sea-lanes. Despite several brilliant naval
victories, war fever subsided. Word came to Adams
that France also had no stomach for war and would
receive an envoy with respect. Long negotiations
ended the quasi war. Sending a peace mission to
France brought the full fury of the Hamiltonians
against Adams. In the campaign of 1800 the
Republicans were united and effective, the
Federalists badly divided.

Nevertheless, Adams
polled only a few less electoral votes than
Jefferson, who became President. On November 1,
1800, just before the election, Adams arrived in
the new Capital City to take up his residence in
the White House. On his second evening in its
damp, unfinished rooms, he wrote his wife, “Before
I end my letter, I pray Heaven to bestow the best
of Blessings on this House and all that shall
hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise
Men ever rule under this roof.” Adams retired to
his farm in Quincy. Here he penned his elaborate
letters to Thomas Jefferson. Here on July 4, 1826,
he whispered his last words: “Thomas Jefferson
survives.” But Jefferson had died at Monticello a
few hours earlier..

Research essay sample on John Adams And The Revolutionary War