So based on my brief exposure to US history in my AP high school classes (much love, Mr. Davis) I was left with the impression that John Adams, our second president, was essentially a step backward in terms of the lofty ideals upon which the country was founded. (See Alien and Sedition Acts.)
So it was with some surprise that I began watching the HBO miniseries about John Adams. Had I misunderstood this man? Well, possibly--it seems that historians have overlooked some of his influence in the founding of the country. But it also appears that the miniseries is a bit overblown as well.