CHARLES: FRANCIS ADAMS, 1807-1886 by Martin B. Duberman


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Filling a long-vacant gap, this first book by a young Yale historian should be the definitive biography of one of the most notable if now forgotten 19th century statesmen. As the grandson of John Adams, the son of John Quincy Adams, he was destined by birth and training for a public career. His childhood abroad, where his father was Minister, taught him something of diplomatic courts; as a young man, disliking political life in Washington, he went to Harvard, read law, but was forced into public life. Reserved by nature, strongly anti-slavery by sentiment, Adams helped found the Republication Party, in was elected to Congress, and later became American Minister in Great Britain. At first mistrusted by the heads of the government, Adams weathered the Mason- emergency, and later with tact and a perfect sense of timing kept England neutral. Often mentioned for high public office, a perennial candidate against his will, he achieved his final diplomatic victory in 1872 as a member of the Alabama arbitration committee. He died in 1886, his memory gone, his name almost forgotten.... Written with no taint of fictionalization, this straightforward and meticulous study of a diplomat who helped shape the course of American history will appeal to scholars rather than to amateurs of biography. It should be required reading for all serious students of 19th century American political and diplomatic history.

Pub Date: March 21st, 1961
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin