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John Quincy Adams: Policymaker for the Union (Biographies in American Foreign Policy) First Edition Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0842026222
ISBN-10: 0842026223
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Editorial Reviews

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As president, John Quincy Adams was a failure; he assumed the office under the suspicion of a "corrupt deal" that denied Andrew Jackson, winner of the popular vote, the office. And his flinty personality and refusal to compromise were ill-suited to the presidency. Unfortunately, Adams' failure as chief executive often obscures the brilliance of his earlier diplomatic career. Lewis, history professor at Louisiana State University, provides a compact survey of Adams' successes and failures in a career that included diplomatic postings to Russia, Prussia, and the Netherlands; service as peace negotiator with Britain; and finally, eight years as Secretary of State. Adams' specific achievements, including the 1814 Treaty of Ghent with Great Britain, the settlement of the U.S.-Canadian border case in 1818, and the Monroe Doctrine, are well known. However, Lewis views his greatest success as more nebulous--the preservation of a general peace that allowed the U.S to consolidate territorial expansion while strengthening domestic institutions. For students of foreign policy at^B the undergraduate and graduate level, this superbly written book will prove invaluable. Jay Freeman
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A highly readable and insightful biography of John Quincy Adams, a complex, brilliant, and often contentious and cantankerous man. (James Roger Sharp)

The most impressive single volume to date on the foreign policies of John Quincy Adams. It is a succinct but comprehensive account of one of America's most distinguished diplomatists. Lews presents Adams's failures as well as his successes, his shortcomings as well as his virtues, while observing the consistency of a statesman whose devotion to a strong union never wavered in the face of changing political environments. (Kaplan, Lawrence S.)

This book should be required reading not only for students of early American diplomatic history, but for anyone interested in the political history of the United States in its formative decades. (Onuf, Peter S.)

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Product Details

  • Series: Biographies in American Foreign Policy (Book 7)
  • Hardcover: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; First Edition edition (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0842026223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0842026222
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,905,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barrie W. Bracken on December 7, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The focus of this book is John Quincy Adams as Secretary of State. The author, Mr. Lewis, proves his proficiency as a fluent writer of clear prose. He begins with a chapter entitled "The Education of John Quincy Adams, 1767 to 1807." This son of our second Pres. John Adams was, pending on your outlook, either blessed or cursed in his early life by the experiences of the Revolution, the absence of his father, his experience as his father's secretary in Europe, and the expectation of his friends and his nation. You might say that his experiences as a young man proved good training for a future Secretary of State. But the author would question this, on page 55 he says, "if Adams had carefully masterminded Clay's and Jackson's actions, thus orchestrating the pressures that led to the Spanish government to accept a treaty on American terms, he would have established a strong claim to being precisely the kind of master diplomat that many historians have portrayed. In fact, Adams had not orchestrated them at all."

Whatever failures as Secretary of State Adams may have encountered they were not all of his doing. Pres. Monroe refuse to Adams a free hand in the selection of employees to the State Department. The president insists upon keeping appointments within his own hand. As Sec. Adams found himself unable to influence the cabinet, a failure which he attributed to his own personality, "[I am] a man of reserved, cold, austere, and forbidding manners [64]." John Quincy Adams served one term as president and then began his life as a truly effective politician.

From December 1831 until he died in February 1848 Adams served his home district as a member of the House of Representatives in Washington.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
John Quincy Adams blends history and biography in presenting a new study of the statecraft and life of John Quincy Adams, policy-maker in the early American republic. It's recommended reading for high school and college undergraduate students, as well as any non-specialist general radeing studying early American history and politics.
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