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John Quincy Adams and American Global Empire 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0813190587
ISBN-10: 0813190584
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Weeks (American history, San Diego State Univ.) paints a detailed and ultimately unflattering portrait of John Quincy Adams in his role as U.S. secretary of state (1817-25). While touching on Adams's life and personality, the book focuses on his successful negotiations with Spain to acquire Florida and a U.S. claim to the Pacific. His able diplomacy made possible Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine, but Adams came to regret the machinations he used to get a better deal. The ironies of the affair haunted him, and he decided later that he had paid too high a price to satisfy the ambition he denied having. Like much good history, this book uses the story of a single event to reveal a great deal about the era in which it took place--and something about our own times as well. For all large history collections.
- Gary Williams, Southeastern Ohio Regional Lib., Caldwell
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"An impressive synthesis of interpretations, personal information about Adams, his wife, and his family, and the details of the negotiations through which Florida was acquired and a borderline to the Pacific for the US and Spain was drawn."―Choice

"Uses the story of a single event to reveal a great deal about the era in which it took place―and something about our own times as well."―Library Journal

"An intelligently argued and tightly written study that ably explores both Spanish-American relations and the complex and contradictory mind of John Quincy Adams."―Journal of the Early Republic

"An excellent acquisition in a period of American diplomatic history that has had too little recent scholarly attention."―Choice


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky; 1st edition (October 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813190584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813190587
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,745,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By C.P.M. VINE VOICE on February 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
An amazing study of John Quincy Adams, U.S. diplomatic history during the Monroe presidency, and the origins of Manifest Destiny. Weeks makes a great case for Adams being our nation's greatest secretary of state. Focusing on the negotiations for the Adams-Onis/Transcontinental Treaty of 1819, Weeks shows how statesmen truly negotiate and the negative consequences it may entail, as Adams would both glory in extending his nations borders and be disgusted by the expansion of slavery he unwittingly aided. In some ways, it is also a morality tale as Weeks calls into question Adams's character, accusing "Old Man Eloquent" of tremendous hypocrisy in his dealings with Congress, Spain, and Pres. Monroe. Weeks also makes an undeniable case for seeing Adams's statesmanship as the true beginning of the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny. This should be read by all students of U.S. history and U.S. foreign policy as it offers great insights to both our country's heritage and politics.
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Format: Hardcover
William Earl Weeks has produced a well-written, thouroughly-researched study of the Adams-Onis Treaty, also called the Transcontinental or Florida Treaty. The author gives the reader a blow-by-blow description of the ins and outs of the negotiations between Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and the Spanish minister to America, Don Luis de Onis. Weeks also shows how the insurrections in South America against Spanish rule impacted the talks as well as how Spain looked fruitlessly to Great Britain, Russia, and other European nations for help to subdue the rebels and assist in case of war with the United States. Meanwhile, Adams was seeking to improve relations with London, thereby isolating Spain and forcing Madrid to agree to Washington’s terms.

The author provides a good overview of John Quincy Adams’ life from childhood through his early diplomatic postings prior to becoming secretary of state. Adams was well educated, knowledgeable in a half dozen languages and a master debater. The secretary was President James Monroe’s most trusted adviser and given a wide latitude in conducting diplomacy. Adams was a tireless worker, which he had to be to conduct the nation’s foreign policy, register laws enacted by Congress, conduct the 1820 census, and attempt to standardize the country’s weights and measures among other things.

What is intriguing about this work is the seemingly hypocrisy in Adams’ beliefs and actions. He grew up believing in the primacy of negotiations to military conflict and living a moral life, being a devout Christian. However, as secretary of state, especially in the negotiations with Spain, he is Machiavellian as the end justifies the means.
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