But Adams did not just read books. He battled them. The casual presumption that there is some kind of rough correlation between the books in the library of any prominent historical figure and the person’s cast of mind would encounter catastrophe with Adams, because he tended to buy and read book with which he profoundly disagreed. Then, as he read, he recorded in the margins and at the bottom of the pages his usually hostile opinions of the arguments and authors.... [T]he Adams marginalia constitute evidence more revealing of his convictions about political theory than any of his official publications.
Continental Army general; key to winning the war in the South; 1742—86.
Washington’s aide-de-camp, lawyer, contributor to the Federalist Papers, Secretary of the Treasury; 1755/1757—1804.
Continental Army general, chief artillery officer, first Secretary of War; 1750—1806.
Continental Army officer, aide-de-camp to Washington, son of Henry Laurens; 1754—82.
Continental Army general, formerly a British officer; 1732—82.
”Light Horse Harry”; Continental Army officer, Virginia governor; 1756—1818.
Irish-born Continental Army general, formerly a British officer; 1738—75.
Aide-de-camp to Washington throughout the Revolutionary War; 1744—1786.
Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army; first President; 1732—99.
Continental Army general, defeated the British at Stony Point; 1745—96.
Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams (1993)