A Lawyers’ Revolution
The revolutionary lawyers, including Adams’s idol James Otis Jr., Pennsylvania’s John Dickinson, and Virginians Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, along with Adams and others deployed the skills of their profession to further the public welfare in crisis times. They were the framers of the American Revolution and the governments that followed. The words of these lawyers are part of American Scripture and the lawyers sit in the pantheon of the Founding Fathers. But it is a mistake to forget that before and while they were Political leaders, they were practicing counsel. The way that people earn their bread leaves deep traces in the way they explain themselves to one another and to posterity. The lawyers’ years of practice, and the habits of thinking and pleading they mastered as part of that practice, influenced how they approached the crisis and how they fabricated the new nation’s idea of law.
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