Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Adams, Samuel (1722-1803) to Elbridge Gerry

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06667 Author/Creator: Adams, Samuel (1722-1803) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 27 November 1780 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: A personal letter by Adams as a Continental Congressman to his friend and protege, Gerry, a former member of Congress who decided to take a seat in the Massachsetts House of Representatives. Writes concerning his plans to retire from Congress and his fears that human nature is "too debased to relish the republican principles" on which the new American government is being founded. He worries about "political idolatry" and the corruption of Americans. Docketed by Elbridge Gerry.

People: Adams, Samuel, 1722-1803.

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Keywords/Subjects: Revolutionary War, Continental Congress, Congress, Morality and Ethics, Government and Civics, Politics, Corruption and Scandal

Sub Era: The War for Independence