Movie Monday: HBO’s John Adams Miniseries

December 19th, 2011

So I guess technically, this is a “Miniseries” Monday post, but I absolutely had to share just how incredible this cinematic offering of David McCullough’s book (of the same name) is. If you haven’t seen it, get thee to your nearest Blockbuster (if it hasn’t been closed) and rent it, or else hop on Amazon and treat yourself to a libertarian stocking stuffer for the holidays.

One thing to remember about the American War for Independence is that it was a war of rebels fighting for their independence from the perpetual and costly warfare of an imperialist regime in London, with Thomas Paine arguing in his famous pamphlet Common Sense that as long as America remained under the rule of England, it would be drawn into her costly wars and become a target for her many enemies. The American rebels were also fighting for their monetary and economic independence from the powerful financial sector in London and its various machinations, as the John Adams miniseries makes especially clear in this exchange between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. The sage of Monticello contended in favor of a sane monetary policy and against financial slavery:

“If the states are indebted to a central authority, it increases the power of the central government… The moneyed interest in this country is all in the North, so the wealth and power would inevitably be concentrated there in the federal government to the expense of the South… I fear our Revolution will have been in vain if a Virginia farmer is to be held in hawk to a New York stock jobber who in turn is in hawk to a London banker. The opportunities for avarice and corruption would certainly prove irresistible.

That an affinity for central banking should combine with a lust for imperialism and perpetual warfare in the person of Alexander Hamilton is no mere coincidence. The two justify and support each other, and they have in common a single underlying character– a willingness to plunder, a desire for spoils instead of products, theft instead of industry, destruction instead of creation. The “revolution” in America’s War for Independence was a revolution of ideas that had long been brewing in writings of European philosophers, ideas that explicated and embraced peace, productivity, mutually voluntary cooperation among people via trade and commerce, and a creative, entrepreneurial mindset. In place of these things, the central bankers like Alexander Hamilton dreamt of empire.

Opponents of central banking, perpetual warfare, and centralized governmental tyranny will delight in the story of the American Revolution as retold in HBO’s John Adams miniseries while being reminded of just how human and flawed these revolutionary heroes were. Things are not all black and white. Presidents are not all good or all bad. There are no immaculate conceptions of new ideas or better societies. As one watches, one remembers that history is messy and human beings are nuanced. THE FOUNDING FATHERS are referred to as a monolithic group, however, they were not untouched by bitter rivalries, personal ambitions, and glaring hypocrisies. At the same time, John Adams reminds us of the Founding Fathers’ very human strengths:

John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams are depicted just as they were in real life: a couple with a very progressive marriage for their time, who spoke to each other as equals and best friends, which they certainly were. Abigail’s support– and sometimes absolutely necessary criticisms– of her husband’s words and actions are on full display for the influence they had on his success as a statesman. Their family struggles, including a daughter stricken by cancer and a self-destructive, alcoholic son reveal the myriad challenges they faced in their personal lives while outwardly battling the English Empire and the political forces of reaction within their own new republic.

Viewers can take heart and draw inspiration from the experiences and lessons of these remarkable people as they fought for a new and better kind of society.

Don’t forget to visit our official website to learn more about the Silver Circle Movie:

About the Author: Wes

Wesley Messamore, 24, is an independent journalist and political activist who believes in the Founding Father's vision of a free, enlightened, and moral America. He also blogs at