The Presidency of John Quincy Adams

Mary W. M. Hargreaves

Historians have not been generous in judging the presidency of John Quincy Adams. Those who have most conspicuously upheld Adams's fame have, at the same time, virtually ignored his service in the White House. Critics, on the other hand, have described his administration as a failure, founded upon "bargain and corruption" and marked by exclusion of the United States from the British West Indian trade, the ineffectiveness of its efforts to promote strong Pan-American relationships, and the enactment of the "tariff of abominations." Some analysts have even argued that it generated the sectionalism which terminated the "Era of Good Feelings."

Mary Hargreaves contends, instead, that the basic effort of Adams's presidency was to harmonize divergent sectional interests. To ignore the Adams administration's commitment to nationalism, she argues, is to overlook a fundamental stage in the establishment of the federal government as guardian of the general interest.

“An illuminating study that undoubtedly will become the standard account of John Quincy Adams's presidency. . . . Judicious and thorough.”


“Adams was one of America’s greatest statesmen, yet one of its least effective presidents. Hargreaves explains why in a solid and dispassionate account. Excellent documentation and comprehensive analysis will make this book the standard study, definitive in its treatment of public policy.”

Library Journal
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The volume contains new information on the development of United States commercial policy, the nation's early relationships with Latin America, and difficulties of local and regional adjustment to the growth of the national economy. It will be of keen interest to all students of the economic and political history of the early national period.

Additional Titles in the American Presidency Series Series

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