John Adams

To Benjamin Rush Quincy, May 14, 1810

Predicts that the Struggle for the

Independence of the
United States

will lead to the

Independence of all of
South America

"South America is an object of immense magnitude. Its independence will for what I know produce greater convulsions and revolutions on this globe than that of North America. It is a question which will now force itself on the consideration of our Nation. It is a vast importance that we shall form correct ideas and obtain accurate information on this subject. The human universe is asleep, but it must awake. How will the independence of South America affect the destiny of the U.S.? How will it affect all the powers of Europe? How will it affect the whole of Asia and Africa? The whole globe, the whole human race is interested, deeply interested in it. Let us be cool and sober, if we can. It is a more difficult question than our own independence."

It was just about at the time of this letter that the present day South American countries were beginning their fight to overthrow Spanish and Portuguese rule, being led by men such as Bolivar, San Martin and Sucre. The struggle which began in the year of this letter ended in 1825 with the countries securing their independence from Spain once and for all. It is remarkable that Adams so correctly predicts what will happen there.

The letter also contains other topics:

"(Benjamin) Lincoln's education, his reading, his general knowledge, his talent at composition was superior to Washington's, his services more dangerous and difficult than Washington's."

He also discredits the practice of dueling saying that it is a despotic tyranny incompatible with a free republican government. " ... a practice which is not only against the laws of God and Man, but it is particularly detestable in this country, because I feel it to be totally incompatible with a really free Republican government. It is as despotic a tyranny over the freedom of thinking, speaking and writing as the Bastille, the Inquisition or the police of the Bourbons or Napoleons ... "