Wednesday, May 21, 2008

John Adams on Why He Studies Politics and War

During his second trip to France (1780) as an ambassador attempting to rally support from European countries for the American Revolution, John Adams reflected on his current role in life in a letter to his wife.
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study paintings, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain. (McCullough, pp. 236-237)
While he had no immediate artists in his children or grandchildren, there were plenty of lawyers, politicians, and even a president.

Future generations of the Adams family saw the type of professions and hobbies John Adams wished for his descendants. Henry Adams (1838-1918) was a Harvard professor and historian who wrote several biographies and a 9-volume history of the United States. Brooks Adams (1848-1927) was a historian who correctly "predicted that by 1950 the United States and Russia would be the two major powers in the world". (Cooper)

Sources
Cooper, John S. 2000. Presidential Children: The Adams Family Children. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/presidents_and_first_ladies/44088/.

McCullough, David. 2001. John Adams. New York: Simon and Schuster.

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