Presidents Day 2012
Posted on: 5th February 2012 19:39:02

Welcome to the February, 2012 edition, President’s Day in Philadelphia in the year 1776!

As we begin our journey, the 2nd Continental Congress is convening with some great historical figures -- Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and John Adams (my nephew’s favorite President)!   

However, in this particular story Adams doesn’t appear to be anyone’s favorite. This point is addressed quite fervently in the opening scene. The musical tongue lashing Adams gets in “ Sit down John” is but a prelude to the discovery that he is “obnoxious and disliked” throughout much of the film.

I believe this “obnoxious” behavior isn’t that at all.  It is simply a fervent love for his country, his desire to see her become independent, (“I say vote yes, vote yes, vote for independency!”), thus moving away from the oppression of England that has taxed them into oblivion. (Stamp Acts, Sugar Acts, Tea Acts).  With this desire in mind he is instrumental in forming the Declaration Committee to write the document that will free all the Colonies.   

I particularly like this scene as it provides the opportunity to address language-based goals of word finding and semantics.

What is extemporania?  What are participles, predicates?

It also further showcases Adams as a force with which to be reckoned. Although, he is small in stature vs. Jefferson who is not, he none the less can make people bend to his will by first stroking his ego (“you write ten times better than anyone in Congress”) and second by reminding him of his patriotism (“it’s your duty”).

Here, I waiver from the workbook a bit and enquire about the group’s feelings regarding honor, duty and respect. Given that the film takes place during war, I ask about the member’s military service and the service of the ladies as military wives.  Great conversation and insights are provided regarding what it was like to serve during that time.

When the ladies of the group speak of their service as military wives, we spend a great deal of time talking about the hardships of separation.  History tells us that John and Abigail spent years apart during the fight for independence. The ladies in the group relate well to the feelings of separation whether it be caring for sick children (“little Abby has the measles”) or doing without essentials (“we cannot find a pin”).

It is their ability to face hardship and yet remain loyal that made women of this time so fascinating. It’s a shame more isn’t written about them. Isn’t there an old saying, “Behind every great man, there is an even greater woman?” I know the ladies in my group, and even some of the men, believe it!

Perhaps if women had run the Congress in 1776, John could have, as Abigail requested, “come home”.  When John said he could not because he was “no further along than when he came to Philadelphia”,  Abigail’s reply is straightforward:  “That’s because you make things so complicated.  Just tell the Congress to declare independency! Then, sign your name, get out of there and hurry home to me!”

If more women ran Congress…that is statement that could keep a group going long after the credits of this film end!


Thanks for looking in!


See you in March for St. Patrick’s Day and a walk through the “Heather on the Hill” in Brigadoon.






Reload Image