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Scholars have examined John Adams’s writings and beliefs for generations, but no one has brought such impressive credentials to the task as Richard Alan Ryerson in John Adams’s Republic. The editor-in-chief of the Massachusetts Historical Society’s Adams Papers project for nearly two decades, Ryerson offers readers of this magisterial book a fresh, firmly grounded account of Adams’s political thought and its development.

Of all the founding fathers, Ryerson argues, John Adams may have worried the most about the problem of social jealousy and political conflict in the new republic. Ryerson explains how these concerns, coupled with Adams’s concept of executive authority and his fear of aristocracy, deeply influenced his political mindset. He weaves together a close analysis of Adams’s public writings, a comprehensive chronological narrative beginning in the 1760s, and an exploration of the second president’s private diary, manuscript autobiography, and personal and family letters, revealing Adams’s most intimate political thoughts across six decades.

How, Adams asked, could a self-governing country counter the natural power and influence of wealthy elites and their friends in government? Ryerson argues that he came to believe a strong executive could hold at bay the aristocratic forces that posed the most serious dangers to a republican society. The first study ever published to closely examine all of Adams’s political writings, from his youth to his long retirement, John Adams’s Republic should appeal to everyone who seeks to know more about America’s first major political theorist.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Half Title, Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotations
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Introduction: The Evolution of a Distinctive Republican Vision
  2. pp. 1-22
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  1. Part One. Adams Moves to the Center
  1. I. A Provincial Reverence for the British Constitution, 1735–1767
  2. pp. 25-64
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  1. II. The Discovery of the Republic, 1768–1772
  2. pp. 65-96
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  1. III. Realm versus Dominion, 1773–1774
  2. pp. 97-128
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  1. IV. From Imperial Dominion to Autonomous Republic, 1774–1775
  2. pp. 129-157
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  1. V. Building a Republican Orthodoxy, 1775–1776
  2. pp. 158-190
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  1. Part Two. Adams on His Own
  1. VI. Defending Executive Authority, 1775–1780
  2. pp. 193-231
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  1. VII. An Education in American Aristocracy, 1775–1783
  2. pp. 232-269
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  1. VIII. Redefining the Republican Tradition, 1784–1787
  2. pp. 270-311
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  1. IX. John Adams’s Republic in Republican America, 1787–1800
  2. pp. 312-354
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  1. X. A Retrospective Retirement, 1801–1826
  2. pp. 355-398
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  1. Conclusion: Memory and Desire in America’s Republican Revolution
  2. pp. 399-432
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 433-520
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  1. An Essay on Sources
  2. pp. 521-524
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  1. A Chronology of John Adams’s Political Study and Writings
  2. pp. 525-528
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 529-556
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781421419237
MARC Record
OCLC
953197914
Pages
560
Launched on MUSE
2016-08-11
Language
English
Open Access
No
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