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John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy (1949)
Front Cover Book Details
Genre Biography; Non-Fiction
Subject Presidents - United States - Biography; United States - Foreign relations - 1783-1865
Publication Date 1949
Format Hardcover (9.8 mm)
Publisher Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
Language English
It is ironic that the thing that reflected poorest on John Quincy Adams, his tenure as president, is what he is today remembered for. In fact, his most outstanding achievements were in the field of foreign affairs and civil liberties. Professor Bemis's book addresses the first of these (the second is handled in vol. 2).

Because of his father's career as a diplomat during the American Revolution, John Adams probably had the best education in foreign affairs of any statesmen in early America. While charges of nepotism haunted Adams, it was money well-spent in terms of results. Adams was posted to Prussia, Russia and Great Britain during the Napoleonic War. He managed to secure a peace treaty with Britain which was threatening to send over the Duke of Wellington to resolve the war of 1812.

As Secretary of State, Adams established the principles that later became enshrined as the Monroe Doctrine. His vision of Western Hemispheric solidarity was designed to allow the new American Republic to stand up to the more powerful nations of Europe. Adams did much to establish anti-colonialism as the hallmark of American Foreign Policy up to the Second World War.

The job of Secretary of State was seen as the springboard to the presidency in the "Era of Good Feelings." Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe had held this office. The rise of Adams was overshadowed by that of Andrew Jackson. However, given the nature of politics at the time neither he nor Adams were able to achieve a clear victory in electoral college. The inconclusive results of the election of 1824 led to the ultimate decision resting with the House of Representatives. When the fourth runner up and Speaker of the House, Henry Clay was in a position to decide the outcome.

The result was the famous "corrupt bargin" in which Adams came in as president and Clay was appointed to be secretary of state. The hint of "political hanky panky" undermined the presidency of John Quincy Adams. There were a number of good ideas proposed: a national university, a system of observatories, internal improvements featuring a national network of canals and roads that would have opened up the west and promoted greater regional ties and interdependence. Unfortunately these good ideas were ineffective against the charisma of Jackson and the political machinations of Van Buren, the first national political boss. The presidency of John Quincy Adams was ineffective against well-organized congressional opposition.

Beemis is excellent on all points. He correctly assesses the highlights of his career. This is intended to be a scholarly biography, not a popular representation. The level of detail and the flow of the narrative may drag at times, but this book is well worth the effort.
Personal Details
Store AbeBooks
Purchase Price $15.50
Acquire Date 8/15/2009
Condition Very Good/--
Rating 0
Product Details
LoC Classification E377.B45 1949
Dewey 973.5/5/092
ISBN 0313226369
Edition [1st ed.]
No. of Pages 588
First Edition Yes
Rare No
Bookseller: Novel Ideas Used Books
Purchase Method: Visa
Payment Processed By: Abebooks
Estimated Delivery Date: September 4, 2009

Author: Bemis, Samuel Flagg
Title: John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American
Bookseller Book No.: 150705
Price: US$ 12.00

Book Description: Owner's name / bookplate. ; Large 8vo 9" - 10" tall; 588 pages.

Date Processed: August 15, 2009
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Total Book Price: US$ 12.00
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