General Correspondence and Other Papers of the Adams Statesmen

Below is a list of in-print works in this collection, presented in series order or publication order as applicable.

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Cover: Legal Papers of John Adams

Legal Papers of John Adams

Adams, John
Wroth, L. Kinvin
Zobel, Hiller B.

1.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volumes 1 and 2: September 1755 – April 1775

Papers of John Adams, Volumes 1 and 2: September 1755 – April 1775

Adams, John
Taylor, Robert J.
Kline, Mary-Jo
Lint, Gregg L.

Aside from the Legal Papers of John Adams, published in 1965, these two volumes are the first in Series III: General Correspondence and Other Papers of the Adams Statesmen. Volumes 1 and 2 of the Papers of John Adams include letters to and from friends and colleagues, reports of committees on which he served, his polemical writings, published and unpublished, and state papers to which he made a contribution.

2.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volumes 3 and 4: May 1775 – August 1776

Papers of John Adams, Volumes 3 and 4: May 1775 – August 1776

Adams, John
Taylor, Robert J.
Lint, Gregg L.
Walker, Celeste

Military affairs provide some of the most fascinating subjects, including accounts of the Battle of Bunker Hill, assessments of high-ranking officers, and complaints about the behavior of riflemen sent from three states to aid the Massachusetts troops.

3.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volumes 5 and 6: August 1776 – July 1778

Papers of John Adams, Volumes 5 and 6: August 1776 – July 1778

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, Robert J.
Walker, Celeste

These volumes document John Adams’s thinking and actions during the final years of his congressional service and take him through his first five months as a Commissioner in France in association with Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee.

4.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volumes 7 and 8: September 1778 – February 1780

Papers of John Adams, Volumes 7 and 8: September 1778 – February 1780

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, Robert J.
Ryerson, Richard Alan
Walker, Celeste
Revelas, Joanna M.

An unparalleled account of early American diplomacy. Legal and constitutional scholars will find Vol. 8 particularly interesting. The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, drafted by Adams, served as a crucial source for the U.S. Constitution; the earliest surviving version of that text is here published with full annotation for the first time.

5.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volumes 9 and 10: March–December 1780

Papers of John Adams, Volumes 9 and 10: March–December 1780

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Revelas, Joanna M.
Ryerson, Richard Alan
Walker, Celeste
Decker, Anne M.

These volumes chronicle Adams’s efforts to convince the British that their nation’s economic survival demanded an immediate peace; his debate with the French foreign minister, the Comte de Vergennes, over the proper Franco–American relationship; and his struggle to obtain a loan in the Netherlands, where policies were dictated by Mammon.

6.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11: January–September 1781

Papers of John Adams, Volume 11: January–September 1781

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Ryerson, Richard Alan
Cecere, Anne Decker
Shea, Jennifer
Taylor, C. James
Walker, Celeste

In mid-March 1781, John Adams received his commission and instructions as minister to the Netherlands and embarked on the boldest initiative of his diplomatic career. Disappointed by the lack of interest shown by Dutch investors in his efforts to raise a loan for the United States, Adams changed his tactics, and in a memorial made a forthright appeal to the States General of the Netherlands for immediate recognition of the United States. Published in Dutch, English, and French, it offered all of Europe a radical vision of the ordinary citizen’s role in determining political events. In this volume, for the first time, the circumstances and reasoning behind Adams’s bold moves in the spring of 1781 are presented in full.

7.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12: October 1781 – April 1782

Papers of John Adams, Volume 12: October 1781 – April 1782

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Ryerson, Richard Alan
Cecere, Anne Decker
Taylor, C. James
Shea, Jennifer
Walker, Celeste
Hogan, Margaret A.

This volume chronicles Adams’s efforts, against great odds, to achieve formal recognition of the United States. Documents include his vigorous response to criticism of his seemingly unorthodox methods by those who would have preferred that he pursue a different course, including Congress’s new secretary for foreign affairs, Robert R. Livingston.

8.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13: May–October 1782

Papers of John Adams, Volume 13: May–October 1782

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, C. James
Hogan, Margaret A.
Rodrique, Jessie May
Claffey, Mary T.
Woodward, Hobson

John Adams was a shrewd observer of the political and diplomatic world in which he functioned and his comments on events and personalities remain the most candid and revealing of any American in Europe. In 1782, Adams focused his energies on raising a loan from Dutch bankers and negotiating a Dutch–American commercial treaty. This volume chronicles Adams’s efforts to achieve these objectives, but it also provides an unparalleled view of eighteenth-century American diplomacy on the eve of a peace settlement ending the eight-year war of the American Revolution.

9.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 14: October 1782 – May 1783

Papers of John Adams, Volume 14: October 1782 – May 1783

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, C. James
Woodward, Hobson
Hogan, Margaret A.
Claffey, Mary T.
Sikes, Sara B.
Graham, Judith S.

John Adams reached Paris on October 26, 1782, for the final act of the American Revolution: the peace treaty. This volume chronicles his role in the negotiations and the decision to conclude a peace separate from France.

10.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 15: June 1783 – January 1784

Papers of John Adams, Volume 15: June 1783 – January 1784

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, C. James
Karachuk, Robert F.
Woodward, Hobson
Hogan, Margaret A.
Sikes, Sara B.
Claffey, Mary T.
Barzilay, Karen N.

On September 3, 1783, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay signed the definitive Anglo–American peace treaty. Adams and his colleagues strived to establish a viable relationship between the new nation and its largest trading partner but were stymied by rising British anti-Americanism. Adams’s diplomatic efforts were also complicated by domestic turmoil: when bills far exceeding the funds available for their redemption were sent to Europe, he was forced to undertake a dangerous winter journey to the Netherlands to raise a new loan and save the United States from financial disaster.

11.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 16: February 1784 – March 1785

Papers of John Adams, Volume 16: February 1784 – March 1785

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, C. James
Karachuk, Robert F.
Woodward, Hobson
Hogan, Margaret A.
Millikan, Neal E.
Sikes, Sara B.
Martin, Sara
Georgini, Sara
Norton, Amanda Mathews
Connolly, James T.

John Adams, with Franklin and Jefferson, formed a joint commission to conclude commercial treaties with the nations of Europe and North Africa. As minister to the Netherlands he raised a new Dutch loan to save America from financial ruin. For the first time since 1778, Adams was no longer engaged in “militia diplomacy.”

12.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 17: April–November 1785

Papers of John Adams, Volume 17: April–November 1785

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Taylor, C. James
Georgini, Sara
Woodward, Hobson
Sikes, Sara B.
Norton, Amanda Mathews
Martin, Sara

Minister to Britain John Adams was unable to enforce the peace treaty of 1783 and renew Anglo–American commerce. But he saved U.S. credit, petitioned to release impressed sailors, saw the Prussian–American treaty ratified, and laid the groundwork for negotiations with the Barbary States.

13.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 18: December 1785 – January 1787

Papers of John Adams, Volume 18: December 1785 – January 1787

Adams, John
Lint, Gregg L.
Martin, Sara
Taylor, C. James
Georgini, Sara
Woodward, Hobson
Sikes, Sara B.
Norton, Amanda Mathews

Volume 18 of the Papers of John Adams chronicles John Adams’ tenure as minister to Great Britain and his joint commission, with Jefferson, to negotiate treaties with Europe and North Africa. Adams found it impossible to do “any Thing Satisfactory” with Britain, and the volume ends with his decision to resign his posts.

14.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 19: February 1787 – May 1789

Papers of John Adams, Volume 19: February 1787 – May 1789

Adams, John
Georgini, Sara
Martin, Sara
Barlow, R. M.
Norton, Amanda Mathews
Millikan, Neal E.
Woodward, Hobson

In John Adams’s last 28 months as a diplomat in Europe, he petitioned to halt British impressment of American sailors, salvaged U.S. credit by contracting two Dutch loans, and finished A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America. He retired to his home but later resumed office as the first vice president of the U.S.

15.Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 20: June 1789 – February 1791

Papers of John Adams, Volume 20: June 1789 – February 1791

Adams, John
Georgini, Sara
Martin, Sara
Barlow, R. M.
Fries, Gwen
Norton, Amanda Mathews
Millikan, Neal E.
Woodward, Hobson

John Adams’s shaping of the vice presidency dominates this volume of the Papers of John Adams, which chronicles a formative era in American government from June 1789 to February 1791. He held to federalist principles and staked out limits for his executive powers. His letters reveal firsthand the labor of nation-building in an age of constitutions.

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