Adams, as a Point of Honor, Defended the Innovations of Science

(p. 211) It is no accident that, despite the long litany of injuries Adams felt had been dealt him in Jefferson’s letters to Priestley, he chose to begin his counterassault by denying, as a point of honor, that he had ever publicly taken a position as president that was resistant to the innovations of science. Remember that Jefferson had also insinuated that Adams had betrayed the Constitution with his “libel on legislation.” But Adams lashed out first at the accusation that he was anti-science. That alone tells us something about the gap that separates the current political climate from that of the founders.

Johnson, Steven. The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America. New York: Riverhead Books, 2008.

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