The possible effects of John Adams's decade in Europe on his policies as vice president and president
John Adams was comfortable with the fact that the American colonies were governed by a monarch living several thousand miles away, as long as the monarch governed through the colonial legislative bodies. When the British Parliament imposed taxes on the colonies, however, Adams knew it was time to fight, first for the colonists' rights as British citizens, and later for America's sovereignty. Adams was instrumental in planning the break from Britain, in negotiating the peace treaty with Great Britain, in negotiating commercial treaties with the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, and other countries, and as the first minister plenipotentiary from the United States to Great Britain. Adams had a decade in which to listen, observe, ask questions, read papers, and generally absorb the essence of French and British thinking, so that during his vice presidency and presidency, as America teetered on the brink of war with France and Great Britain, Adams was uniquely able to lead his country to peace and security by insisting on neutrality.