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John Adams: "hostile to the republicanism of the United States: the development of his political thought from 1765

Pound, John David Wedgwood (1999) John Adams: "hostile to the republicanism of the United States: the development of his political thought from 1765. Masters thesis, Durham University.



A study of the development of John Adams's thought, from the Stamp Act of 1765 through thirty-five years of public service and a further twenty of reflective retirement. It draws principally upon his published works, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, the Novanglus Letters, Defence of the Constitutions, Discourses on Davila; and on his Diary, Autobiography and prolific correspondence with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Rush, and others. This examination of his political thought addresses his initial motives for opposition to the British Government and the way in which this position evolved into a more systematic theory of government. The principal focus for this Thesis lies in the examination of the cause and course of the evolution of this theory over the succeeding years, in relation to what might be termed the "mainstream" of republican thought. As such it comprises a discussion of the various and conflicting ideological sources and interpretations of the Revolution and of "republicanism" as an aspiration, an idealistic model and a practical form of government. Changes in Adams's thought were determined by events, and his ideas are discussed in relation to the context of the early Republic, the growth of parties and domestic and foreign problems, particularly relations with France and Great Britain after the Revolution, and the cultural legacy of the latter and growing radical influence of the former after 1789. All this contributed to his concluding appraisal of the American people, and the state and future of the American Republic. Consequently, it is with reference to these conclusions that the central contention will be addressed: his support for and understanding of the republican experiment. His place in the development of American thought, the validity of his analysis and a defence of his patriotism, undiminished by his honest, if impolitic frame of thought, is argued.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1999
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:47

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