Books by James Traub:

The Freedom Agenda:
Why America Must Promote Democracy (Just Not the Way George Bush Did)

The Best Intentions:
Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of America World Power

The Devil’s Playground:
A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square

City on a Hill:
Testing the American Dream at City College

Too Good To Be True:
The Outlandish Story of Wedtech

Militant Spirit



A Militant Spirit: John Quincy Adams from the Revolution to the Battle over Slavery

John Quincy Adams had one of the most extraordinary careers in the first generations after the founding of the Republic. He was America’s most talented diplomat in the 1790s, a U.S. Senator in the first years of the new century, the first Boylston Professor of Rhetoric at Harvard, ambassador to Russia and the Court of St. James, Secretary of State under James Madison, the sixth President—and then a member of the House of Representatives. The son of America’s second President, Adams watched the battle of Bunker Hill as a boy, and as on old man fought the growing divide between slave states and free.  He was the last of the Federalists, an old-fashioned republican in a democratic age, and he was beaten decisively by Andrew Jackson in his bid for re-election in 1828. And yet, though he felt to himself, and to others, like a relic of history, Adams re-discovered his calling as a bitter foe of the “slavocracy,” as he called it, and became one of the nation’s most revered—and despised—figures. From boyhood, and throjughout his long career, Adams kept a diary in which he recorded not just the events of the day but his most painful reflections on himself and his times—a document unrivaled in American public life.