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John Adams (American Presidents)

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John Adams (American Presidents) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A revealing look at the true beginning of American politics

Until recently rescued by David McCullough, John Adams has always been overshadowed by Washington and Jefferson. Volatile, impulsive, irritable, and self-pitying, Adams seemed temperamentally unsuited for the presidency. Yet in many ways he was the perfect successor to Washington in terms of ability, experience, and popularity.

Possessed of a far-ranging intelligence, Adams took office amid the birth of the government and multiple crises. Besides maintaining neutrality and regaining peace, his administration created the Department of the Navy, put the army on a surer footing, and left a solvent treasury. One of his shrewdest acts was surely the appointment of moderate Federalist John Marshall as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Though he was a Federalist, he sought to work outside the still-forming party system. In the end, this would be Adamss greatest failing and most useful lesson to later leaders.

Cited by the New York Times as "one of the liveliest and most interesting of contemporary intellectual historians," John Patrick Diggins is a distinguished professor of history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of numerous books, including On Hallowed Ground: Abraham Lincoln and the Foundation of American History, Max Weber: Politics and the Spirit of Tragedy, and The Proud Decades. He lives in New York City.

Series editor Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. is arguably the preeminent political historian of our time. For more than half a century, he has been a cornerstone figure in the intellectual life of the nation and a fixture on the political scene. He served as special assistant to John F. Kennedy; won two Pulitzer Prizes for The Age of Jackson (1946) and A Thousand Days (1966); and in 1998 received the National Humanities Medal. He published the first volume of his autobiography, A Life in the Twentieth Century, in 2000.

Perhaps no U.S. president was less suited for the practice of politics than John Adams. A gifted philosopher who helped lead the movement for American independence from its inception, Adams was unprepared for the realities of party politics that had already begun to dominate the new country before Washington left office. Indeed, Adams and the Federalists were so effectively outmaneuvered by the Republicans that history has tended to overlook the legacy of the short, balding man from Massachusetts who led the country between Washington and Jefferson.

But, as John Patrick Diggins shows, Adams's contributions still resonate today. During his single term he created the Department of the Navy, rallied support for an undeclared war against France, oversaw the passage of the Alien and Sedition Act, and left a solvent Treasury. More importantly, he identified and fought against two trends that continue to trouble domestic affairs todayspecifically, the conflict existing between America's aristocratic and populist impulses, as well as that existing between the will of the people and the rights of minorities.

Diggins's Adams is a man whose reputation for snobbery and failure are wholly undeserved, and whose prescient modernism still offers us valuable lessons as we strive to fulfill the Founding Fathers' vision of a fair republic and just society. He is, in Diggins's concise and knowing account, the president who comes closest to the Platonic ideal of a philosopher-king.

"Diggins acquits himself well in the shorter format of the American President series. Like McCullough, he spends time considering Adams in the light of political alter ego Thomas Jefferson, who lived as an aristocrat while speaking as a radical yet unfairly accused his sober-minded, eminently democratic opponent of being Caesar in the making . . . The solid interpretation of events will interest students of the presidency and the early republic."Kirkus Reviews

"America's second president, John Adams, was the political leader who had to face democratic politics as we know it today, whereas his predecessor, George Washington, enjoyed an unchallenged charismatic authority as the glorious hero of the Revolution. But what Washington won on the battlefield as a general Adams won at the conference table as a diplomat: a vital loan that helped finance the Revolution and the favorable peace terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1783. As president, Adams dealt with international relations, civil liberties, and domestic rebellion with a keen sense of power, fairness, and justice. He had a better grasp of where America was heading than did Thomas Jefferson, and had it not been for the political institutions Adams defendeda strong executive, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the militaryAmerica's democratic ideals would have had no means of realization. This is Adams's legacy."John Patrick Diggins on John Adams

"[Diggins] spends time considering Adams in the light of political alter ego Thomas Jefferson, who lived as an aristocrat while speaking as a radical, yet unfairly accused his sober-minded, eminently democratic opponent of being Caesar in the making . . . [This] solid interpretation of events will interest students of the presidency and the early republic."Kirkus Reviews

"In this study, part of the accessible series [from Times Books] on each of the country's chief executives, historian Diggins' academic specialty, intellectual history, influences his appraisal of Adams. The President wrote copiously about political philosophy, and in one chapter, Diggins closely evaluates the material. This is a wise confinement, for, except for his correspondence, Adams is a chore to read. The pace quickens in the balance of Diggins' narrative as he integrates Adams' fundamental ideas about politics into the hurly-burly story of the 1790s. Adams' presidency was, of course, vexed by the quasi-war with revolutionary France and associated turbulence in domestic politics. As much as recounting events, Diggins engages historians of this much-written-about decade, detecting pro-Jefferson bias in some, as he argues for Adams' significance as a political moralist. This examination will be of special interest to history readers with an analytical bent."Booklist

"More than just a miniature of our second president, Diggins's slim volume offers a reconsideration of Adams, a thoughtful study of American politics of the period and Adams's legacy for today."Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

Praise for John Patrick Diggins: "One of the liveliest and most interesting of contemporary intellectual historians." — The New York Times

Synopsis:

A revealing look at the true beginning of American politics Until recently rescued by David McCullough, John Adams has always been overshadowed by Washington and Jefferson. Volatile, impulsive, irritable, and self-pitying, Adams seemed temperamentally unsuited for the presidency. Yet in many ways he was the perfect successor to Washington in terms of ability, experience, and popularity. Possessed of a far-ranging intelligence, Adams took office amid the birth of the government and multiple crises. Besides maintaining neutrality and regaining peace, his administration created the Department of the Navy, put the army on a surer footing, and left a solvent treasury. One of his shrewdest acts was surely the appointment of moderate Federalist John Marshall as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Though he was a Federalist, he sought to work outside the still-forming party system. In the end, this would be Adams's greatest failing and most useful lesson to later leaders.

Synopsis:

A revealing look at the true beginning of American politics

Until recently rescued by David McCullough, John Adams has always been overshadowed by Washington and Jefferson. Volatile, impulsive, irritable, and self-pitying, Adams seemed temperamentally unsuited for the presidency. Yet in many ways he was the perfect successor to Washington in terms of ability, experience, and popularity.

Possessed of a far-ranging intelligence, Adams took office amid the birth of the government and multiple crises. Besides maintaining neutrality and regaining peace, his administration created the Department of the Navy, put the army on a surer footing, and left a solvent treasury. One of his shrewdest acts was surely the appointment of moderate Federalist John Marshall as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Though he was a Federalist, he sought to work outside the still-forming party system. In the end, this would be Adamss greatest failing and most useful lesson to later leaders.

About the Author

John Patrick Diggins is distinguished professor of history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of numerous books, including On Hallowed Ground, The Proud Decades, The Lost Soul of American Politics, The Rise and Fall of the American Left, and Max Weber: Politics and the Spirit of Tragedy. He lives in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805069372
Editor:
Schlesinger, Arthur Meier, Jr.
Publisher:
Times Books
Editor:
Schlesinger, Arthur Meier, Jr.
Author:
Rohan, Richard
Author:
Diggins, John Patrick
Author:
Arthur M. Sch
Author:
Schlesinger, Arthur M.
Author:
lesinger, Jr.
Author:
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
Presidents & Heads of State
Subject:
Presidents -- United States.
Subject:
United States Politics and government.
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Biography-Presidents and Heads of State
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
First Times
Series:
American Presidents
Series Volume:
107-285
Publication Date:
20030631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 bandw illustration
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
6.92 x 4.6 x 1.11 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Biography » Political
Biography » Presidents and Heads of State
History and Social Science » US History » Presidents » Adams, John (and Abigail)
History and Social Science » US History » US Presidency

John Adams (American Presidents) New Hardcover
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Product details 224 pages Times Books - English 9780805069372 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Praise for John Patrick Diggins: "One of the liveliest and most interesting of contemporary intellectual historians." — The New York Times
"Synopsis" by , A revealing look at the true beginning of American politics Until recently rescued by David McCullough, John Adams has always been overshadowed by Washington and Jefferson. Volatile, impulsive, irritable, and self-pitying, Adams seemed temperamentally unsuited for the presidency. Yet in many ways he was the perfect successor to Washington in terms of ability, experience, and popularity. Possessed of a far-ranging intelligence, Adams took office amid the birth of the government and multiple crises. Besides maintaining neutrality and regaining peace, his administration created the Department of the Navy, put the army on a surer footing, and left a solvent treasury. One of his shrewdest acts was surely the appointment of moderate Federalist John Marshall as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Though he was a Federalist, he sought to work outside the still-forming party system. In the end, this would be Adams's greatest failing and most useful lesson to later leaders.
"Synopsis" by ,
A revealing look at the true beginning of American politics

Until recently rescued by David McCullough, John Adams has always been overshadowed by Washington and Jefferson. Volatile, impulsive, irritable, and self-pitying, Adams seemed temperamentally unsuited for the presidency. Yet in many ways he was the perfect successor to Washington in terms of ability, experience, and popularity.

Possessed of a far-ranging intelligence, Adams took office amid the birth of the government and multiple crises. Besides maintaining neutrality and regaining peace, his administration created the Department of the Navy, put the army on a surer footing, and left a solvent treasury. One of his shrewdest acts was surely the appointment of moderate Federalist John Marshall as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Though he was a Federalist, he sought to work outside the still-forming party system. In the end, this would be Adamss greatest failing and most useful lesson to later leaders.

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