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JQA and the Louisiana Purchase-Book Excerpt



For such a young man, Adams had greater life experiences than most of his contemporaries. As a boy in Europe, he had observed abject poverty and vast inequality as he made his way across Poland and Russia. This had given him a unique perspective, for had he been in Braintree, his experience with slavery would have only been slight. He had witnessed the suppression of freedom and the domination of the lower classes close up. In this country, he had seen the increase in slavery and the mounting influence of the political power of slaveholders in the halls of Congress. He had been troubled by Northerners’ compliance with slavery, as well as the Constitution’s confounding hypocrisy of freedom and the South’s “peculiar institution.” The Constitution and Union were his mainstays, but the specter of slavery’s expansion created angst. Adams had determined to ride out the storm in silence. However, the Louisiana Purchase and the Jefferson Administration’s policies would force Adams off of neutral ground. John Quincy’s family history, his personality, and events outside of his control would combine in a unique mixture to force him into a more public stance on slavery, more than he had ever anticipated, and lead him to take public positions which he had never thought possible.

Special Note: I had intended to publish this manuscript with a small press that is not publishing new books at the time the manuscript was transmitted for design and layout. So given the situation, I am happy for the new start and will continue to post excerpts for the time being.

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