The years 1790 to 1793 marked the beginning of the American republic, a contentious period as the nation struggled to create a functioning government amid increasingly bitter factionalism. On the international stage, the turmoil of the French Revolution raised important questions about the nature of government. As usual, the Adams family found itself in the midst of it all. Vice President John Adams chaired Senate sessions even as he was prevented from participating in any meaningful fashion. Abigail joined him when her health permitted, but even from afar she provided important advice and keen observations on politics and society.
All four Adams children are well represented here, especially Charles and Thomas Boylston, who, for the first time, appear as correspondents in their own right. Both embarked on legal careers, Charles in New York and Thomas in Philadelphia, while John Quincy did the same in Boston. Daughter Nabby cared for her growing family as her ambitious husband, William Stephens Smith, pursued financial schemes. This volume offers both insight into the family and the frank commentary on life that readers have come to expect from the Adamses.
The most recently published volume of the Adams Family Correspondence, edited by Margaret Hogan among others, sustains the high scholarly standards of its predecessors. The period covered, 1790 to 1793, lands us squarely in John's vice-presidency, which he was coming to see as a political cul-de-sac (he called it "the most insignificant office that ever the Invention of Man contrived or his Imagination conceived")...[John and Abigail's] correspondence is at its best in allowing us to see how huge policy questions about the very shape of the infant republic were filtered through highly personal concerns about health, aging, and parental frustrations. This is the messy way that history really happens, and the Adams Family Correspondence is unparalleled in providing a peek into the nexus of public and private obsessions.
- 624 pages
- 6-1/2 x 9-3/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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