Cover image for John Quincy Adams : policymaker for the Union
John Quincy Adams : policymaker for the Union
Lewis, James E., 1964-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Wilmington, Del. : SR Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxv, 164 pages ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E377 .L47 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This new book focuses on John Quincy Adams's extensive role in foreign policy, including his years as secretary of state and as president. Brief but thorough, John Quincy Adams: Policymaker for the Union analyzes Adams's foreign policy accomplishments during key moments in American history, including the Rush-Bagot Agreement, the Transcontinental Treaty, the recognition of the Spanish-American republics, and the Monroe Doctrine. At the same time, the book shows that Adams was far less successful than many historians suggest. John Quincy Adams: Policymaker for the Union focuses on Adams's ideals of the centrality of the union to American happiness, the necessity of federal action to protect the union, and the indivisibility of foreign and domestic concerns. This book's examination of these three points casts new light on the logic behind many of Adams's accomplishments and also exposes the sources of some of his failures. This is the first study to examine how Adams's views ultimately led to his failure as a policymaker. This book is ideal for courses in diplomatic history, American history, and American political history.

Author Notes

James E. Lewis, Jr. has taught at Hollins University, Louisiana State University, Widener University, and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of The American Union and the Problem of Neighborhood: The United States and the Collapse of the Spanish Empire, 1783-1829 (1998).

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

As president, John Quincy Adams was a failure; he assumed the office under the suspicion of a "corrupt deal" that denied Andrew Jackson, winner of the popular vote, the office. And his flinty personality and refusal to compromise were ill-suited to the presidency. Unfortunately, Adams' failure as chief executive often obscures the brilliance of his earlier diplomatic career. Lewis, history professor at Louisiana State University, provides a compact survey of Adams' successes and failures in a career that included diplomatic postings to Russia, Prussia, and the Netherlands; service as peace negotiator with Britain; and finally, eight years as Secretary of State. Adams' specific achievements, including the 1814 Treaty of Ghent with Great Britain, the settlement of the U.S.-Canadian border case in 1818, and the Monroe Doctrine, are well known. However, Lewis views his greatest success as more nebulous--the preservation of a general peace that allowed the U.S to consolidate territorial expansion while strengthening domestic institutions. For students of foreign policy at the undergraduate and graduate level, this superbly written book will prove invaluable. --Jay Freeman

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Chronologyp. xix
1 The Education of John Quincy Adams, 1767-1807p. 1
2 The Storms of War and Peace, 1807-1817p. 21
3 A Dangerous Neighborhood, 1817-1821p. 43
4 A Frustrating World, 1821-1825p. 71
5 A Troubled Presidency, 1825-1829p. 99
6 An Unexpected Career, 1829-1848p. 119
Conclusionp. 141
Bibliographic Essayp. 147
Indexp. 161