Reply To: The John Quincy Adams Administration



For those interested, I just came across this essay Russell Kirk wrote about a European named Friedrich Gentz.

The article addresses John Quincy Adams as well since he translated some of Gentz’s work. Here’s an excerpt for the article regarding Adams’s Burkean influence,

“Like Gentz, the younger Adams had been profoundly influenced by Burke; and though he tried to act the role of arbiter between Burke and Paine, Adams really was persuaded by all Burke’s principal arguments. His Letters of Publicola, published in 1791, had demolished Paine’s Rights of Man and had cudgelled the French revolutionaries, enraging Jefferson. The Americans, young Adams had written, had not fallen into the pit of radical abstract doctrine: “Happy, thrice happy the people of America, whose gentleness of manners and habits of virtue are still sufficient to reconcile the enjoyment of their natural rights with the peace and tranquillity of their country; whose principles of religious liberty did not result from an indiscriminate contempt of all religion whatever, and whose equal representation in their legislative councils was founded upon an equality really existing among them, and not upon the meta-physical speculations of fanciful politicians, vainly contending against the unalterable course of events and the established order of nature.” “