In This Review
John Quincy Adams and the Public Virtues of Diplomacy

John Quincy Adams and the Public Virtues of Diplomacy

By Greg Russell

University of Missouri Press, 1995, 295 pp.

This is a fine evocation of the outlook of one of the titans of early American statecraft, a "second founder" of the republic whose public career as diplomat and elected official spanned over half a century. Adams' oft-quoted warning against crusading abroad is not the only respect in which he conveys lessons for the present age. Adams was drawn inexorably, as Russell notes, to the intersection of ethics and statesmanship. Adams brought to the task of reconciling power and principle a fierce independence from partisan claims and a deep education in classical and Christian traditions. Russell shows how Adams effected a certain junction between Hamiltonian realism and Jeffersonian idealism--a synthesis that remains, in vastly altered circumstances, a vital task of contemporary American statecraft.