"Let us dare to read, think, speak and write."

John Adams, 1765

 Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney star in HBO's John Adams

"Humanity obliges us to be affected with the distresses and Miserys of our fellow creatures. Friendship is a band yet Stronger, which causes us to feel with greater tenderness the afflictions of our Friends."

-- Abigail Smith, August 11, 1763

"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival...It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."

-- John Adams, July 3, 1776

John Adams by David McCullough"It's the human side of all of these subjects that interests me. I have no interest as a writer or historian to do an analytical appraisal of The Progressive Era. That just isn't what I do. I'm interested in the people, what happened to them and why. When I have a subject that has left a full and revealing record through personal correspondence, then I can get inside those lives, I can get below the surface and that's the job of a writer, it seems to me, to get below the surface.

This was true of Truman, who wrote such fantastic letters, particularly in the years when he had no idea he was going to be a protagonist in history; and the letters between John Adams and his wife are some of the greatest we have from any Americans over a thousand letters between John and Abigail Adams. They're all wonderfully written and long, and they tell you more than anybody else of that era about their personal lives and feelings. That's what's so remarkable about the Adams papers."

-- David McCullough, "Connecting with David McCullough," Dave Weich, Powells.com