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Rise of the New West, 1819-1829


Excerpt: ...organization. In all of the great sections, candidates appeared, anxious to consolidate the support of their own section and to win a following in the nation. It is time that we should survey these men, for the personal traits of the aspirants for the presidency had a larger influence than ever before or since in the history of the country. Moreover, we are able to see in these candidates the significant features of the sections from which they came. New England was reluctantly and slowly coming to the conclusion that John Quincy Adams was the only available northern candidate. Adams did not fully represent the characteristics of his section, for he neither sprang from the democracy of the interior of New England nor did he remain loyal to the Federalist ideas that controlled the commercial interests of the coast. Moreover, of all the statesmen whom the nation produced, he had had the largest opportunity to make a comparative study of government. As an eleven-year-old boy, he went with his father to Paris in 1778, and from then until 1817, when he became Monroe's secretary of state, nearly half his time was spent at European courts. He served in France, Holland, Sweden, Russia, Prussia, and England, and had been senator of the United States from Massachusetts. Thus Adams entered on the middle period of his career, a man of learning and broad culture, rich in experience of national affairs, familiar with the centers of Old-World civilization and with methods of European administration. He had touched life too broadly, in too many countries, to be provincial in his policy. In the minds of a large and influential body of his fellow-citizens, the Federalists, he was an apostate, for in the days of the embargo he had warned Jefferson of the temper of his section, had resigned, and had been read out of the party. The unpopularity, as well as the fame, of his father, was the heritage of the son. Perhaps the most decisive indication of the weakening of... Hide synopsis

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