The Lost Founding Father: John Quincy Adams and the Transformation of American Politics

Liveright: Norton. Oct. 2017. 544p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780871404350. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781631493898. BIOG
Award-winning author Cooper (history, Louisiana State Univ.; Jefferson Davis, American) illuminates the character of John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) as different from his political peers, shedding light on his influence on early American politics. The son of former president John Adams, John Quincy spent his formative years in Europe studying the Enlightenment while men such as Andrew Jackson, who defeated incumbent John Quincy in the presidential election of 1828, grew up along the American frontier. Chapters follow Adams's upbringing, his hesitancies about entering politics, and the personal circumstances that affected him throughout his journey. Readers receive a candid view into his marriage to wife Louisa and his constant anxiety about his ability to perform in each of the roles that called to him.
VERDICT With several recent comprehensive biographies of Adams already available, Cooper's monograph is not exceptionally groundbreaking. However, it will be of importance to readers interested in the rise of American political parties, the national expansion and political reforms of the early 19th century, and the emerging sectional discord between North and South.

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