Presidency of John Quincy Adams

Overview

Historians have not been generous in judging the presidency of John Quincy Adams. Those who have most conspicuously upheld Adams's fame have, at the same time, virtually ignored his service in the White House. Critics, on the other hand, have described his administration as a failure, founded upon "bargain and corruption" and marked by exclusion of the United States from the British West Indian trade, the ineffectiveness of its efforts to promote strong Pan-American relationships, and the enactment of the "tariff...
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Overview

Historians have not been generous in judging the presidency of John Quincy Adams. Those who have most conspicuously upheld Adams's fame have, at the same time, virtually ignored his service in the White House. Critics, on the other hand, have described his administration as a failure, founded upon "bargain and corruption" and marked by exclusion of the United States from the British West Indian trade, the ineffectiveness of its efforts to promote strong Pan-American relationships, and the enactment of the "tariff of abominations." Some analysts have even argued that it generated the sectionalism which terminated the "Era of Good Feelings."

Mary Hargreaves contends, instead, that the basic effort of Adams's presidency was to harmonize divergent sectional interests. To ignore the Adams administration's commitment to nationalism, she argues, is to overlook a fundamental stage in the establishment of the federal government as guardian of the general interest.

The volume contains information on the development of United States commercial policy, the nation's early relationships with Latin America, and difficulties of local and regional adjustment to the growth of the national economy. It will be of keen interest to all students of the economic and political history of the early national period.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
An illuminating study that undoubtedly will become the standard account of John Quincy Adams's presidency. . . . Judicious and thorough.
American Historical Review
This volume could not be more welcome. It is far and away the best account we have of the unlucky but honorable administration of John Quincy Adams.
Journal of American History
Should be read and used by all scholars interested in the period.
Library Journal
Adams was one of America's greatest statesmen, yet one of its least effective presidents. Hargreaves explains why in a solid and dispassionate account of his administration. A minority president, Adams was beset by overwhelming political obstructionism. Sectional, local, and personal partisanship destroyed the national perspectives of his ``American system.'' Diplomatically, his efforts to expand American commerce were stymied. Adams was temperamentally and culturally unsuited to popular politics and became a victim of them in 1828. Yet he expanded the federal role in promoting internal improvements, and he presided over four years of sustained economic growth. Excellent documentation and comprehensive analysis will make this book the standard study, definitive in its treatment of public policy. Harry W. Fritz, History Dept., Univ. of Montana, Missoula
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700602728
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 11/28/1985
  • Series: American Presidency Series
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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