John Adams -- lawyer, congressman, diplomat, vice president, and president--had one of the most varied and productive public careers of America's Revolutionary generation. His many achievements, taken for granted or even discounted through much of the twentieth century, have in the past decade attracted the increasingly enthusiastic attention of historians, political scientists, and the larger public. This collection of essays, the first ever on its subject, provides unique insights on Adams's life, from youth through old age, and his vital contributions to the founding of the nation. An introduction by the editor lays out the breadth of Adams's life and career in general, setting the stage for focused explorations of the essential aspects of his rich legacy, including topics that have seldom, if ever, been examined in any detail.
An indispensable resource for any reader who wishes to understand Adams or his world, the volume includes nine essays, all by leading authorities on the man and his era: "John Adams and the Massachusetts Provincial Elite", by William Pencak; "Before Fame: Young John Adams and Thomas Jefferson", by John Ferling; "John Adams and the 'Bolder Plan, '" by Gregg L. Lint; "In the Shadow of Washington: John Adams as Vice President", by Jack D. Warren; "The Presidential Election of 1796", by Joanne B. Freeman; "The Disenchantment of a Radical Whig: John Adams Reckons with Free Speech", by Richard D. Brown; "'Splendid Misery': Abigail Adams as First Lady", by Edith B. Gelles; "John Adams and the Science of Politics", by C. Bradley Thompson; and "Presidents as Historians: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson", by Herbert Sloan. Each opens a new window on a historicalfigure poised for fresh appreciation and significance.