In chapter 6 of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, why was the correspondence between Adams and Jefferson so important?
The correspondence between Adams and Jefferson was seen as so important because it highlighted the sense of character that Ellis feels was intrinsic to the Revolutionary Generation. While Adams and Jefferson did engage in rather intense political opposition with one another during their public service careers, Ellis uses the correspondence later on as an example of how the men of the Revolutionary context were able to understand that political disagreements did not have to undermine the basic fibers that connected all of them to one another. The correspondence between Adams and Jefferson reflects just that, showing how both men understood that while they might have held partisan and policy disagreements, they knew that their function was to be historical markers for the change in the American Revolution. In this, Ellis' point is demonstrated that what made this particular group of American political leaders so unique was that they understood the bonds that connected them as being larger and more relevant than anything that could prompt disagreement between them. It is here in this idea that political disagreements did not have to move into the personal that makes Ellis' point germane to this political group and also helps to advance the idea that this group of men recognized the exact issue of nation building that was at hand for them.