Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 27, 2016--John Adams' New York Values

Ted Cruz is not the first presidential aspirant to smirk about New York values.

From this entry in John Adams' Diary on August 23, 1774, quoted in John Sedgwick's rather good dual biography, War of Two: Alexander Hamiliton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel That Stunned the Nation, it is clear that Adams was no fan of the early New York City.

And though this is from Adams at his fussiest (he could be very fussy), some of it rings true. Undoubtedly for then, but also for now. But to me, more of this is positive than disdainful.

The up-tight Adams was appalled by New Yorkers and their manners. He wrote--
With all the opulence and splendor of this city, there is very little good breeding to be found. We have been treated with an assiduous respect but I have not seen one real gentleman, one well-bred man, since I came to town. At their entertainments there is no conversation that is agreeable; there is no modesty, no attention to one another. They talk very loud, very fast and all together. If they ask you a question, before you can utter three words of your answer they will break out upon you again and talk away.
Sound like dinner with the Zwerlings.
John Adam's Diary

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