John Adams and the Spirit of Liberty

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $8.95
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 50%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $8.95   
  • New (5) from $9.86   
  • Used (4) from $8.95   


"This is the most thorough and most sophisticated assessment of the political thought of John Adams yet written. Here Adams recovers his rightful place alongside James Madison as one of the leading political thinkers of the revolutionary generation."—Joseph J. Ellis, author of Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams

"A remarkable achievement. Thompson gives us a fresh and lucid survey of John Adams' political writings and—something no scholar has done before—provides a thorough analysis of the contexts in which they were written. What is more, he offers a convincing description of Adams' thought processes. All in all, a superb study."—Forrest Mc Donald, author of Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution

Author Biography: C. Bradley Thompson is an associate professor of history and political science at Ashland University.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review
An important book. Convincingly demonstrates that Adams earned a place among America's greatest political thinkers.
Times Literary Supplement
This is intellectual history as it should be written: powerful and penetrating, compelling and convincing.
Although John Adams was the second president of the United States and a prolific writer on political science and philosophy, his life and work have been comparatively neglected by contemporary scholars. Thompson (history and political science, Ashland University) reexamines Adams' writings, focusing on the distinction he drew between the "principles of liberty" and the "principles of political architecture," and concludes that he was the 18th century's finest student of the political sciences, embodying the mind of the American Revolution. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Michael Novak
No single man is more responsible for the Fourth of July than John Adams....[I]n one of the greatest acts of abnegation in American history, he stood aside and let Thomas Jefferson...claim the glory of declaring our independence....[D]espitre paying insufficient heed to Adams's regligious thought, Thomson has prepared an intellectually exhilarating volume.
The Weekly Standard
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700611812
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Series: American Political Thought Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Principles of Liberty
1 Calvin, Locke, and the American Enlightenment 3
2 Lawyer, Statesman, and Lawgiver 24
3 The Spirit of Liberty 44
4 The Principles of Liberty 66
Pt. 2 Principles of Political Architecture
5 A Guidebook for Lawgivers 91
6 The Science of Politics 107
7 The Science of History 126
8 The Science of Human Nature 148
9 Republican Government 174
10 The Principles of Government 202
11 The Art of Political Architecture 229
12 Posterity Must Judge 250
Notes 281
Bibliography 327
Index 333
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)