William J. Cooper
The Lost Founding Father
John Quincy Adams and the Transformation of American Politics
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in BiographyNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network October 24, 2017 Mark Klobas
Over the course of a public career that stretched from the Washington administration to the Mexican-American War, John Quincy Adams became a living link to America’s revolutionary generation. In The Lost Founding Father: John Quincy Adams and the Transformation of American Politics (Liveright, 2017), William J. Cooper describes how Adams held fast to the values of that generation during a time of dramatic political change. Though aspiring to a career in politics from an early age, Adams sought to win office mainly through merit. Thanks to his ability and experience he served in a series of diplomatic and political postings, culminating in his selection by President James Monroe as Secretary of State in 1817. While Adams succeeded Monroe as president in 1825, the controversy surrounding his election thwarted his ambitious agenda and crystalized the development of a new party alignment that contributed to his defeat four years later. Yet Adams’s return to public office with his election to the House gave him an opportunity to play a continuing role on the national scene, particularly as the country’s leaders grappled with the increasingly problematic issues of slavery and territorial expansion.