History teaches us that John Adams was not at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. That’s right, he was not there. He was in Great Britain at the request of Congress to try to enter into a new treaty of commerce with the nation we had just defeated in the Revolutionary War.
As you can imagine, Adams was not very well received by the British! He was shunned, ignored, and given no attention to his requests for a treaty. John wanted very much to be at the Convention. After all he had created or written the new Constitution for the new State of Massachusetts. He was most interested in helping with a new Constitution for the new American nation. But no. Congress asked him to stay put in England.
So John decided he would help out by writing a book. “After all”, he explained to Abigail, “everything I have accomplished so far has been because of words—written or spoken. So I’ll write a book!” Abigail was flabbergasted!
But he did. John Adams wrote a two volume treatise on law making entitled: “A Defence of the Constitutions of the Government of the United States of America.”
Unbelievably his new book about government principles was available in the United States by spring 1787. The Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in May of 1787. Adams book was welcomed and was widely circulated. “Even a casual glance at the records of the Federal
Convention will show that Adams’ book was used as sort of a repertory by many speakers, who found in it a confirmation of their views, [with] historical illustrations and precedents.” (as quoted in “Founding Fathers—Uncommon Heroes” by Steven W. Allen, page 105.)
Sometimes a hero can accomplish much good even from great distances!