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John Adams

John Adams never had an optimistic view of human nature, and his experience in the Congress and abroad only deepened his suspicion that his fellow Americans might not have the character to sustain a republican government... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the...

Of all John Adams' published writings, two works provide an especially fruitful resource for an inquiry into his deepest political reflection... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join John Paynter as he unlocks the key to understanding John Adams' political...

The need for understanding our roots is as timeless as the human story itself and explains why we cling to the Declaration of Independence... Most people know that the Fourth of July—Independence Day—is a celebration of America’s separation from...

Too often the public conversation about universal truths divides along rather sterile ideological lines. Russell Kirk's great warning is that this is not really a battle of ideas, understood abstractly, but a battle of sentiments or affections...

When the second generation of Americans inherited the leadership of the republic, they must have felt, in equal measure, a mix of immense pride and a sense of dread... I often imagine how difficult it must have...

John and Abigail Adams remained faithful to what they believed were the permanent things. How might twenty-first-century Americans use their correspondence to better address the public questions that touch upon the fundamentals of American constitutional liberty?...

Political Architecture: The Natural Order of the Many A full understanding of the passion for distinction requires that we look at man not only as the object of attention but also as the agent of notice, as...
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Within his general view of man as naturally social, John Adams explored the nature of the passion for distinction. To speak of man as gregarious is merely to identify a human inclination to "go in flocks or herds,...

As elaborated thus far, natural law teaches that legitimate government is circumscribed by liberty in a dual sense: It derives from the consent of equally free individuals, and it aims at securing the natural rights which comprise...

As a political writer, John Adams is most remembered today for the constitutional prescriptions by which he helped to solidify the American Revolution. His Thoughts on Government was widely circulated in 1776 and helped hasten and...

This spring, Library of America releases John Adams: Writings from the New Nation 1784–1826, the third and final volume of Gordon S. Wood’s landmark edition of the great patriot’s works. It includes letters, diary excerpts,...
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Editor's Note: On the fourteenth day of January, 1784, the Revolutionary War ended as the United States ratified the Treaty of Paris with England. In honor of this event, let us...

In The Conservative Mind, John Quincy Adams appears as a flawed, failed conservative. Though he “felt the pressing necessity for conservative principle in the conduct of American affairs,” Adams “never quite discovered how to fix upon...

Yesterday, the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was nor will be decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, That these...