John Quincy Adams: a public life, a private life

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Publisher:
Knopf,
Pub. Date:
1998.
Language:
English
Description
February 21, 1848, the House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.:  Congressman John Quincy Adams, rising to speak, suddenly collapses at his desk; two days later, he dies in the Speaker's chamber. The public mourning that followed, writes Paul C. Nagel, "exceeded anything previously seen in America." Forgotten was his failed presidency and his often cold demeanor. It was the memory of an extraordinary human being--one who in his last years had fought heroically for the right of petition and against a war to expand slavery--that drew a grateful people to salute his coffin in the Capitol and to stand by the railroad tracks as his bier was transported from Washington to Boston. Nagel probes deeply into the psyche of this cantankerous, misanthropic, erudite, hardworking son of a former president whose remarkable career spanned many offices: minister to Holland, Russia, and England, U.S. senator, secretary of state, president of the United States (1825-1829), and, finally, U.S. representative (the only ex-president to serve in the House). On the basis of a thorough study of Adams' seventy-year diary, among a host of other documents, the author gives us a richer account than we have yet had of JQA's life--his passionate marriage to Louisa Johnson, his personal tragedies (two sons lost to alcoholism), his brilliant diplomacy, his recurring depression, his exasperating behavior--and shows us why, in the end, only Abraham Lincoln's death evoked a greater outpouring of national sorrow in nineteenth-century America. We come to see how much Adams disliked politics and hoped for more from life than high office; how he sought distinction in literary and scientific endeavors, and drew his greatest pleasure from being a poet, critic, translator, essayist, botanist, and professor of oratory at Harvard; how tension between the public and private Adams vexed his life; and how his frustrations kept him masked and aloof (and unpopular). Nagel's great achievement, in this first biography of America's sixth president in a quarter century, is finally to portray Adams in all his talent and complexity.
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ISBN:
9780679404446
9781483069517
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Grouped Work ID fa86328c-e333-6a29-0e22-f8496b798e7f
Grouping Title john quincy adams a public life a private life
Grouping Author nagel paul c
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-01-22 04:01:12AM
Last Indexed 2019-02-16 04:40:14AM

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author Nagel, Paul C.
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display_description A United States minister, senator, president, and congressman in turn, John Quincy Adams was one of the most prevalent and dedicated Americans in history. Drawing from Adams' seventy-year diary, author Paul Nagel probes deeply into the psyche of this cantankerous, misanthropic, erudite, hardworking son of a former president whose remarkable career spanned so many offices. We learn about his passionate marriage to Louisa Johnson, his personal tragedies, including two sons lost to alcoholism, his recurring depression, exasperating behavior, and brilliant diplomacy. We see his frustration with the political life and the pleasure he drew from being a poet, critic, translator, essayist, botanist, and professor of oratory at Harvard. Nagel's great achievement, in this first biography of America's sixth president in a quarter century, is to finally portray Adams in all his talent and complexity.
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publishDate 1998, 2009
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subject_facet Adams, John Quincy, -- 1767-1848, Presidents -- United States -- Biography
title_display John Quincy Adams : a public life, a private life
title_full John Quincy Adams : a public life, a private life / Paul C. Nagel, John Quincy Adams : a public life, a private life [electronic resource] / Paul C. Nagel
title_short John Quincy Adams :
title_sub a public life, a private life
topic_facet Adams, John Quincy, Presidents