Dear Mr. President: John Quincy Adams: Letters from a Southern Planter's Son

Overview

Elected after one of the most bitterly fought contests in American history, John Quincy Adams faces a contentious Congress and many national problems. William Pratt, the 12-year-old son of a cotton plantation owner, writes about one of the thorniest: the removal of the Creek Indians from their tribal land in Georgia. His father, the young man reports, supports the policy, but William believes the Creek are being betrayed. The president sympathizes, yet as his letters painfully reveal, his own political muscle has...
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Overview

Elected after one of the most bitterly fought contests in American history, John Quincy Adams faces a contentious Congress and many national problems. William Pratt, the 12-year-old son of a cotton plantation owner, writes about one of the thorniest: the removal of the Creek Indians from their tribal land in Georgia. His father, the young man reports, supports the policy, but William believes the Creek are being betrayed. The president sympathizes, yet as his letters painfully reveal, his own political muscle has been deeply cut by powerful foes.

Between 1825 and 1827, twelve-year-old William Pratt, who lives in Georgia, corresponds with President John Quincy Adams, discussing what he feels is an unjust treaty with the Creek Indians, Mr. Adams's close election and problems as president, slavery, education, and more.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In the 1820s plantation owners in rural Georgia are unhappy because much of the land they desire still belongs to the Creek Indians. Pressure is put upon John Quincy Adams, the newly-elected United States president to craft a treaty with the Creek in order to take their land. The Treaty of Indian Springs does exactly what the owners want. William Pratt, the twelve-year-old son of a Georgia plantation owner, knows that he is more privileged than many, but he still thinks what the government has done is wrong. In an effort to make his beliefs known to the President, he engages in correspondence with President Adams. In this, the fifth in the "Dear Mr. President" series, although the reader learns about the issues of the period through the letters between young William and President Adams, the likelihood of such correspondence is remote. As with the other books, the strength here lies not in the letters, but in the informational section at the end of the book. An index, timeline, further readings and web sites add to the usefulness of the book.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Creating interest in lives that seem impossibly different from those of 21st-century young people (Adams traveled to Russia at the age of 14 as private secretary and interpreter for the U.S. diplomatic envoy) is a primary value of this series. The fictional elements come through correspondence between a president and a young person-in this book a Southern planter's son. It stretches credulity, however, to imagine that the beleaguered Adams would carry on such a relationship with a young citizen-much less share some of his personal and political concerns. Further, the complexity of historical situations discussed in the letters is not really best served by this format. There are also "to learn more" Web-site suggestions throughout the story. The book concludes with extensive historical notes and a time line. One must ask if such a "spoonful of sugar" approach to learning history doesn't reinforce the notion that it is medicine to be swallowed, rather than palatable on its own.-Nancy Collins-Warner, Neill Public Library, Pullman, WA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890817930
  • Publisher: Winslow House Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Series: Dear Mr. President Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 8.85 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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