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Book Title: Diary and Autobiography of John Adams: Volumes 1-4, Diary (1755-1804) and Autobiography (Through 1780)|
The author of the book: John Adams
ISBN 13: 9780674203006
Edition: Belknap Press
Date of issue: December 1st 1961
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 776 KB
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These four volumes begin the publication of the Adams archives, a collection which Edward Everett Hale called a manuscript history of America in the diaries and correspondence of a single family. The Diary, partially published in the 1850's, has proved a quarry of information on the rise of Revolutionary resistance in New England, the debates in the early Continental Congresses, and the diplomacy and financing of the American Revolution; but it has remained unfamiliar to the wider public. It is an American classic, Mr. Zolta n Haraszti said recently, about which Americans know next to nothing. Actually the Diary's historical value may well prove secondary to its literary and human interest. Now that it is presented in full, we have for the first time a proper basis for comprehending John Adams--an extraordinary human being, a master of robust, idiomatic language, a diarist in the great tradition. From none of the other founders of the Republic do we have anything like a record at once so copious and so intimate. The Autobiography, intended for John Adams' family but never finished, consists of three large sections. The first records his boyhood, his legal and political career, and the movement that culminated in American independence. The second and third parts deal with his diplomatic experiences, and serve among other things as a retrospective commentary on the Diary: they are studded with sketches of Adams' associates which are as scintillating as they are prejudiced. Parts and in some cases all of these sketches were omitted from Charles Francis Adams' nineteenth-century edition. In 1779 John Adams wrote, I am but an ordinary Man. The Times alone havedestined me to Fame--and even these have not been able to give me, much. Then he added, Yet some great Events, some cutting Expressions, some mean Hypocrisies, have at Times, thrown this Assemblage of Sloth, Sleep, and littleness into Rage a little like a Lion. Both the ordinary Man and the Lion live on in these volumes.
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An American Founding Father, the second president of the United States (1797–1801), having earlier served as the first vice president of the United States (1789–1797).
Adams came to prominence in the early stages of the American Revolution. A cousin of revolutionary leader Samuel Adams, John Adams was a lawyer and public figure in Boston. As a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, Adams played a leading role in persuading Congress to declare independence. He assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and was its primary advocate in the Congress.
Later, as a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain, and was responsible for obtaining vital governmental loans from Amsterdam bankers.
A political theorist and historian, Adams largely wrote the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, which together with his earlier Thoughts on Government, influenced American political thought.
One of his greatest roles was as a judge of character: in 1775, he nominated George Washington to be commander-in-chief, and 25 years later nominated John Marshall to be Chief Justice of the United States.
Adams' revolutionary credentials secured him two terms as George Washington's vice president and his own election in 1796 as the second president. During his one term as president, he encountered ferocious attacks by the Jeffersonian Republicans, as well as the dominant faction in his own Federalist Party led by his bitter enemy Alexander Hamilton. Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts, and built up the army and navy especially in the face of an undeclared naval war (called the "Quasi-War") with France, 1798–1800.
The major accomplishment of his presidency was his peaceful resolution of the conflict in the face of Hamilton's opposition. Because he promoted a strong defense, Adams is "often called the father of the American Navy".
In 1800, Adams was defeated for re-election by Thomas Jefferson and retired to Massachusetts. He later resumed his friendship with Jefferson. He and his wife founded an accomplished family line of politicians, diplomats, and historians now referred to as the Adams political family.
Adams was the father of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States. His achievements have received greater recognition in modern times, though his contributions were not initially as celebrated as those of other Founders. Adams was the first U.S. president to reside in the executive mansion that eventually became known as the White House.
Well educated, he was an Enlightenment political theorist who promoted republicanism, as well as a strong central government, and wrote prolifically about his often seminal ideas—both in published works and in letters to his wife and key adviser Abigail Adams.