What one founder thought of New Yorkers

From time to time, I come across interesting comments in a book I am reading that brings home the idea that as much as things might change, it is even more amazing how much stays the same. Continue reading for what John Adams thought of New Yorkers!

I am currently reading through Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution. It has been an eye opener as we work through the early days – long before the Boston Tea Party – and see that many of the tactics used back then are similar and in many cases worse than some of the worst tactics we see used today. Burning down a political rivals house for instance!

John Adams

However, todays Quick Quote comes from John Adams in a time after the Boston Tea Party, as he visits New York for the first time. This was in 1774 and Adams was going to represent Massachusetts in a Congress in Philadelphia.  It took 5 days to get from Boston to New York in those days. A few days after he arrived, John Adams made the following observation about New Yorkers:

“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.”

The author, A.J. Langguth, points out that,

“Adams concluded that New Yorkers had no modesty, no interest in another persons opinion. They talked very loud, very fast and all at the same time.”

If you ask just about any foreign visitor to the United States today, to describe their first impressions of Americans, you will often find them coming to the same conclusions John Adams did over 230 years ago!


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