The American Revolution: Inside the Minds of The Founding Fathers
Long after the Revolutionary era, John Adams asked “what do we mean by the American Revolution?” He said “the Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people,” that the real Revolution was a radical change in thinking—“the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people.”
Focusing on the ideas of such leaders as Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison and Washington, we shall examine that revolution in the principles and conflicts that characterized the revolutionary era of 1770-1800. Adams believed that through a common set of beliefs “thirteen clocks were made to strike together,” but by 1800 that unity of purpose had unraveled into violent political debate that threatened the survival of the nation. “Whether you or I were right, posterity must judge,” Adams wrote to Jefferson. We are that posterity.