A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
Portrait of John Adams and actor Paul Giamatti Portrait of Abigail Adams and actor Laura Linney

Episode 1: Join or Die

In a letter dated 12 May 1774 from John Adams in Boston to Abigail at her father's house in Weymouth, Massachusetts, John acknowledges the effects of tensions between the British crown and residents of Boston. The recently-passed Intolerable Acts, including the closing of the port of Boston and the expansion of the Quartering Act, will undoubtedly be burdensome to many colonists, but John believes that this "martyrdom" is ultimately for a great and "noble cause." The featured letter relates to the episode that premieres 3/16.

Letter excerpt from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 12 May 1774

Letter excerpt from John Adams, 12 May 1774
We live my dear Soul, in an Age of Tryal. What will be the Consequence I know not. The Town of Boston, for ought I can see, must suffer Martyrdom: It must expire: And our principal Consolation is, that it dies in a noble Cause. The Cause of Truth, of Virtue, of Liberty and of Humanity: and that it will probably have a glorious Reformation, to greater Wealth, Splendor and Power than ever.
John Adams (signature)