CHARACTERS Ý The Problem of Democracy

REVIEW The Problem of Democracy

CHARACTERS Ý The Problem of Democracy è [Download] ➻ The Problem of Democracy By Nancy Isenberg – How the father and son presidents foresaw the rise of the cult of personality and fought those who sought to abuse the weaknesses inherent in our democracy from the New York Times bestselling author o How the father anBenjamin Franklin George Washington Thomas Jefferson and Andrew JacksonWhen John Adams succeeded George Washington as President his son had already followed him into public service and was stationed in Europe as a diplomat Though they spent many years apart and as their careers spanned Europe Washington DC and their family home south of Boston they maintained a close bond through extensive letter writing debating history political philosophy and partisan maneuveringThe problem of democracy is an urgent problem the father and son presidents grasped the perilous psychology of politics. As it has been pointed out by other reviewers the book is a double biography of father and son rather than an in depth examination of American democracy and its evolution during father and son’s lifetime John Adams was one of the last of a generation of presidents of an epoch for example the last president who personally knew all his predecessors This speaks to the ascendancy of a group of elites in the American politics of that time The election of Jackson was an upheaval in the system where the nature of American populist bend threw a wrench into the elite driven control of the government The book points out only in the last chapter and somewhat asymptotic to the biography of the two men that Democracy in America was never meant to be a full democracy of the government of people by the people and for the people There is a lot if myth making and idolizing that is entwined with the American revolution and its founders; a revolution that was really the product of the revolt of Oligarchs a nuevo aristocracy set against monarchy rather than a majority of ordinary people So now even as then the Democratic institutions work for the moneyed and the privileged in the same ways that in sports there are fanatical fans whose blind loyalty to groups and dogmas only benefits the club owners pockets in the endThe thrust of the book is that both Adamses were realist but not pragmatic autocrats whose service to the nation fell outside the fandom realm Therefore both ended up being one term presidents who were really shunned by the national political sport of partisanship Despite that I don’t think a good argument is made that the father and son’s politics and conservatism their sense of self importance and pride was somehow good politics that in the long term did anything too beneficial either way I think one problem with Adams legacies is that the beat of different drum they took up left very little tangible legacies for them despite the 300 pages of this biography Consider this where would the American revolution be if John Adams was the senior diplomat in France instead of Ben Franklin I think at the end of the day it was Franklin’s theatrical politics and playing ball rather than Adams’ acerbic approach that won a powerful ally in France This trend in father and son’s lives continued through their Presidencies and JA’s later career JA made many principled stances against slaveholding interests in the house but actual political gains are hard to point out Some interesting takeawaysThe Missouri compromise appeared to most observers to give a slight edge to slaveholders Adams without claiming the power of prophecy recorded in tremulous tones “If slavery be the destined sword of the hand of the destroying angel which is to sever the ties of this Union the same sword will cut in sunder the bonds of slavery itself” Supposing that a “calamitous” civil war would be reuired to defeat slavery he took a dramatic breath and proclaimed “As God shall judge me I dare not say that it is not to be desired” This was 1823Once JA became president he presented an ambitious plan “John uincy Adams was ready to stage federally sponsored roads canals and other advanced engineering projects; a national university or less on the model of the great European temples of learning; an astronom


How the father and son presidents foresaw the rise of the cult of personality and fought those who sought to abuse the weaknesses inherent in our democracy from the New York Times bestselling author of White TrashJohn and John uincy Adams rogue intellectuals unsparing truth tellers too uncensored for their own political good They held that political participation demanded moral courage They did not seek popularity it showed They lamented the fact that hero worship in America substituted idolatry for results and they made it clear that they were talking about The Problem PDFEPUB or. This s far from a fast read but is worth the effort In part it is a joint biography of John and John uincy Adams the 2nd and 6th Presidents and the first two Presidents to only serve one term At this level the book is very interesting especially since I learned about JA However the real meat of the book comes when the authors explore why they were both kicked out after one term Their conclusion and the problem of democracy in the title is that they were supremely competent but weren't good at showmanship To some extent in Jefferson and extremely in the case of Andrew Jackson they were replaced by people who didn't necessarily have their background but were better at self promotion and myth making The authors also point out that the Adams' were moral men than their opponents Obviously our present political situation simmers in the background as we again are led by an unprepared and in many ways incompetent person who did a good job of convincing people he was amazing

Nancy Isenberg í 1 CHARACTERS

The Problem of DemocracyAnd forecast what future generations would have to contend with citizens wanting heroes to worship and covetous elites than willing to mislead Rejection at the polls each after one term does not prove that the presidents Adams had erroneous ideas Intellectually they were what we today call independents reluctant to commit blindly to an organized political party No historian has attempted to dissect their intertwined lives as Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein do in these pages and there is no better time than the present to learn from the American nation's most insightful malconten. I have mixed feelings on this book there is a lot of good history telling it is well sourced and told in a clear understandable narrative Both John Adams and John uincey Adams are complicated men but so where many of the men of their respective eras They were both book lovers avid readers and students of philosophical antiuityHowever the authors in elevating the Adams over vilify others unfairly Hamilton is not the archangel of death and destruction Ben Franklin was not a mere celebrity and Washington is then a stoic handsome statue And it is native to believe both of the Adams President were free from self interest and only slight arrogant for purely noble reasonsAdditionally I found the authors so myoptic on the Adam’s they failed to mention other competing historical intellectual developments in comparison Instead they mentioned in passing some of the Adams diary notes on writers like Adam Smith and Voltaire and Rousseau but failed to explain how the Adam’s misinterpreted these works or how they were wrong in there assessments The authors do explain which ideas from both men are the most significant from John Adams “Thoughts on Government” in 1776 and John uincey Adam defense in the “Amistad” case