A Companion to John Adams and John Quincy Adams

A Companion to John Adams and John Quincy Adams

Language: English

Pages: 600

ISBN: 0470655585

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A Companion to John Adams and John Quincy Adams presents a collection of original historiographic essays contributed by leading historians that cover diverse aspects of the lives and politics of John and John Quincy Adams and their spouses, Abigail and Louisa Catherine.

  • Features contributions from top historians and Adams’ scholars
  • Considers sub-topics of interest such as John Adams’ role in the late 18th-century demise of the Federalists, both Adams’ presidencies and efforts as diplomats, religion, and slavery
  • Includes two chapters on Abigail Adams and one on Louisa Adams

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Enlightenment, the young John Adams reveled in the accomplishments of modern science. The ancients of classical Greece and Rome might lay claim to priority in poetry and oratory, but when it came to the mathematical sciences of physics and astronomy, modern learning seized the laurel. In a letter to his old college classmate Jonathan Sewell in 1760, Adams extolled those “Modern Discoveries” that had both “done Honour to the human Understanding” and opened “a noble Prospect of the Universe”

writings. Beginning with his 46 d a r r e n s ta l o ff Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, Adams focused on feudalism as a system of monarchical tyranny and absolutism. Although originally a military system “for the necessary defense of a barbarous people against the inroad and invasion of her neighboring nations,” feudalism was adapted by monarchs through the abuse of feudal land tenures to reduce the lieutenants and soldiers to the status of “servants and vassals” while binding “the

feudal absolutism had been critical to his defense of the colonial assemblies against the claims of parliamentary sovereignty. In one of his replies to Governor Thomas Hutchinson on behalf of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Adams claimed that because the colonists held their land “of the king” rather than allodially, these feudal tenures obviated any subjection to parliament: “We conceive that upon the Feudal Principles all Power is in the King.” Indeed, the charter that Charles I

spring. Perhaps Adams trusted the optimistic view of Richard Henry Lee that the “same ship which carries home the Resolution will bring back the Redress” – that a coordinated and j o h n a d a m s i n t h e c o n t i n e n ta l c o n g r e s s  85 well-enforced trade embargo would lead to the immediate reversal of British policy (D&A: 2.120). Or, if the Congress did meet again, perhaps Adams thought another man would take his place. As he had suggested to James Warren before the Congress

proof that Jefferson was a radical bent on upending tradition; (Kurtz, 1957: 232–233). Federalists in the Senate also discussed a bill that would have allowed them to oversee (and possibly influence) the selection of presidential electors. The “Ross Election Bill” called for the creation of a “Grand Committee”, composed of members of both the House and the Senate, which would decide any question concerning a presidential election. The Grand Committee would consist of thirteen men selected by the

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