CRF Blog

Man of the World

by Bill Hayes

In Man of the World, the American Scholar reviews John Quincy Adams: American Visionary by Fred Kaplan.

Few if any men were ever better qualified, at least on paper, to serve as president of the United States than John Quincy Adams. A diplomat several times over, lawyer, senator, and secretary of state, he had grown up in a household with parents who had been center stage at the creation of the American union. By example and exhortation, John and Abigail Adams instilled in their precocious and talented son a deep faith in, and enthusiasm for, the American experiment. Significantly, from an early age, John Quincy saw the beginnings of the country from both inside and outside its borders. When the Continental Congress sent John Adams to Paris to replace Silas Deane on a joint commission that included Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee, the Adamses decided that their 10-year-old—the eldest son of their five children—would go along. As Fred Kaplan writes in this insightful and engrossing biography of our sixth president, “Europe would be his school.” [more]