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John Quincy Adams : A Man for the Whole People - Mark Bramhall

John Quincy Adams

A Man for the Whole People

At a Glance

Published: 25th June 2024

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A magisterial journey through the epic life and transformative times of John Quincy Adams

In this masterful biography, historian Randall B. Woods peels back the many layers of John Quincy's long life, exposing a rich and complicated family saga and a political legacy that transformed the American Republic.

Born the first son of John and Abigail Adams, he was pressured to follow in his father's footsteps in both law and politics. His boyhood was spent amid the furor of the American Revolution, and as a teen he assisted his father on diplomatic missions in Europe, hobnobbing with monarchs and statesmen, dining with Ben Franklin, sitting by Voltaire at the opera. He received a world-class education, becoming fluent in Latin, Greek, German, and French. His astonishing intellect and poise would lead to a diplomatic career of his own, in which he'd help solidify his fledgling nation's standing in the world.

He was intertwined with every famous American of his day, from Washington to Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, Jackson, Calhoun, Clay, and Webster. He was on stage, frequently front and center, during the Revolutionary Era, the fractious birth of American party politics, the War of 1812, the Era of Good Feelings, and the peak of Continental Expansion. It was against this backdrop that he served as an ambassador, senator, secretary of state, and, unhappily, as president. The driving force behind both the Transcontinental Treaty and the Monroe Doctrine, this champion of Manifest Destiny spent the last years of his life fighting against the annexation of Texas because it would facilitate the spread of slavery.

This deeply researched, brilliantly written volume delves into John Quincy's intellectual pursuits and political thought; his loving, yet at times strained, marriage to Louisa Catherine Johnson, whom he met in London; his troubling relationships with his three sons; and his fiery post-presidency rebirth in Congress as he became the chamber's most vocal opponent of slavery.

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