Thursday, February 05, 2009


My husband has been reading a lot of biographies lately. He's enjoyed books on Joseph, Daniel and Abraham, and took that love of reading about great men a little further to mesh it with his love for American History. He's taken on some lengthy books as a result, and enjoys sharing little insights he's noticed when reading about some of the great men in our history. Ben Franklin was one that he especially enjoyed reading about. The man was truly a Renaissance Man.

For Christmas I got him a biography on John Adams. He's fun to read about because he was a pretty animated character. But he also gave little tidbits of information about Thomas Jefferson. When reading about John Adams, you get to hear his thoughts on his contemporary, and contrast the way they interacted at a very important crossroads in our history.

It seems Adams saw Mr. Jefferson as an odd person. Jefferson was quiet, and preferred to stay away from crowds. In fact, during the all important sessions of hammering out the wording of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson did not stay in town with the rest of the group. He took a small apartment on the outskirts of town, away from the noise, and I'm sure drop-in company. This seclusion was important to this man, because it was he who took what was said and decided in those meetings, and put the ideas into a meaningful and useful document that has guided this great nation of ours.

Big Dad and I were discussing this, and it came to us that observers are an important part of society. They are fringe people, not in the spotlight. They prefer to watch, take in and observe in order to make sense of things. The beauty of this type of person is that when they make sense of things, and communicate that to others, it enables others to understand as well. They show us paths of understanding that we might miss if someone wasn't there to watch out for it. Big Dad is somewhat like this, and it's fun to see the great men in history who have similar habits.

Mainstream isn't for everyone. Observers like Thomas Jefferson keep us on the right track, and keep mainstream in check. I really like observers.


This Eclectic Life said...

I love reading about John Adams (Ben Franklin, too). I like your observation about "observers." I believe you are absolutely correct.

I find it soothing to be around people like that. I wonder if Jefferson was one of those people who "only talk when they have something to say." I can't master that art, but I admire people who have! lol

Anonymous said...

Hello! :)

Mike said...

My favorite biographies are about Theodore Roosevelt. Start with David McCulloghs "Mornings on Horseback" and then have him go to the twin volumes by Edmund Morris, "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" and "Theodore Rex" He is such a fascinating person.

Hope you all are doing well.