One of the outstanding documentary editions in American scholarship, The Adams Papers collects the correspondence and other significant papers of our nation's first great political family. At the center, of course, is John Adams. Beginning with his early diaries and three volumes selected from his legal papers--documenting, among other cases, the Boston Massacre trials--this edition covers Adams’s ascent from young Boston lawyer to passionate advocate for American independence, including his time in the Continental Congress and his drafting of the Massachusetts state constitution (the oldest of the world’s active constitutions). As one of the great diplomats of the era, Adams spent eight years in Europe, called upon by his young country to negotiate treaties with France, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Prussia, and the Barbary States.
Upon his return to America he served as vice president under George Washington and, eventually, second president of the United States. An embattled nonpartisan in an age of emerging party alliance, his popularity and influence fluctuated dramatically with the controversy over the XYZ Affair, Quasi-War with France, the Alien and Sedition Acts, and conflicts with his own cabinet. During this period in the Executive branch, he saw the movement of the federal government from New York to Philadelphia to the District of Columbia. The vice presidential and presidential years or executive period of Adams’s public career will be dealt with in the future as new print volumes are added to the digital edition shortly after their publication.
Adams’s importance lay not only in his insistence on freedom for America, but in his ability to show the emerging republic what this freedom meant. To Thomas Jefferson, both friend and rival, Adams was the "colossus of independence."
The Papers also contains John’s frequent correspondence with his wife Abigail, allowing the reader an uncommonly candid view on the workings of the state, as well as Abigail’s own observant, spirited writings. Her letters offer an invaluable view on eighteenth-century life, from the farm and family she often managed by herself to the war being played out on her doorstep. Also featured are the writings of the four Adams children, including eldest son--and sixth president--John Quincy Adams.
This digital edition brings together all 30 volumes of The Adams Papers from the founding generation that have so far appeared in print, comprising the completed series of John Adams’s diary and the ongoing series of family correspondence and state papers, including three volumes carefully selected from John Adams’s legal papers. Users may access the contents by date, series, author, or recipient, as well as through linked cross-references. XML technology provides the most advanced searching, including the ability to search across all titles in Rotunda’s American Founding Era Collection.