Most recently updated: February 23, 2019. A courtship ensues between Mrs. Descended from two presidents--John Adams and John Quincy Adams--Henry Adams was deeply schooled in American political life, and that, in a sense, is what this ambivalent novel is about. Democracy is an entertaining but serious piece of political literature. Civil War in 1861, Pres.
When Adams published this anonymously in 1880 there was a storm of speculation on who the figures were supposed to burlesque, and who wrote it. Henry Brooks Adams was born into one of the oldest and most distinguished families in Boston, a family which had produced two American presidents, giving him the opportunity to pursue a wide-ranging variety of intellectual interests during the course of his life. For three months he lay partially paralyzed, his mind hovering between reason and delirium. Among the points which stand out: the book apparently takes place in the winter of 1872-73, following the election of a new president; this is the era of Reconstruction, with the Civil War less than a decade in the past; the decades following the Civil War were the high-water mark for party power and unity in the United States, with powerful political machines capturing never-before-and-never-since-reached levels of popular support and voter turnout; and that part of the reason for this was the high levels of outright corruption in that era, when the aforementioned party machines controlled, through patronage, huge numbers of government jobs--those who called for reform of, for example, the civil service during this time were derided as idealistic dreamers, or people who did not appreciate the genius of America's systems of government, or both. Finding his German inadequate, he enrolled in a German secondary school.
He is well-decribed as a politician more interested in power than principle. Personal Background Henry Brooks Adams was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 16, 1838, the fourth of seven children of Charles Francis Adams and Abigail Brooks Adams. The fraudulent act was committed to neutralize the effects of a fraud perpetrated by traitorous adversaries, and nothing less than the fate of the nation was thought to be at stake. For all the witty conversations in his novel, this was a theme that plagued Adams a presidential grandson in life as well as literature, and it is a theme that has by no means disappeared today. In the end, Maude discovers that her beau, Senator and then Secretary of the Treasury Ratcliffe, is the corrupt pol she always suspected, and leaves disgusted with the whole town and the democratic process itself. Highly recommended for any student of literature, politics, or women in society.
The cataclysm, he prophesied, would occur in 1921. Ratcliff, the new Treasury Secretary and a likely contender for the presidency. A man of impeccable, self-effacing reserve, he will stoop to no unseemly self-promotion, and refrains from all partisan jockeying. As confidante of a Midwestern senator, Madeleine is introduced to the democratic process. It moves through set pieces full of dazzling language -- balls, Mt Vernon, the heroine's salon. In contrast to Chartres, the Education centred upon the 20th-century universe of multiplicity, particularly the exploding world of science and.
The time is shortly after the election of a new President. Democracy is a novel about , its acquisition, use and. Purify society and you purify government. Henry supported the backers of silver and feared a new ruling class of gold capitalists whom he called gold-bugs. The editor of the recent Penguin Classics edition of the novel, Earl N. For reasons that I have yet to understand, the contemporary American author cannot write a satisfactory novel about the arts of political chicane in Washington. Lee on becoming acquainted with him.
These two figures are unintentionally I suspect quite similar to Isabel Archer and Gilbert Osmond of Henry James's Portrait of a Lady. Recommended if you have a taste for brittle social comedy. She becomes a famous hostess, an informal power broker, and the romantic object of several powerful men, including Silas P. His formal childhood schooling was at the private Latin School of E. He resigned from Harvard in 1877, moving to Washington to edit the papers of Thomas Jefferson's Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin. More sympathetic commentators see Adams as a figure who sought meaning in the and violence of the 20th century.
So, who was the author? Adams liked to repeat Pres. I had to read this! Although the dialogue heavy plot and character-study focus is not ideally suited for modernity's fixation on thrill and shock, one with a taste for a novel of ideas will be more than satiated. Henry Adams is the voice of 19th Century America. The back cover said that it was a satire of 1870s Washington, but I contend that it is still relevant and applicable to today's Washington. Having read it, I think he's right. At its heart is Madeleine Lee, a young widow who comes to Washington, D. Adams and King were inseparable.
So I can't claim that it is filled with superb characterizations; more like a bunch of political and social types which he runs through those paces which his story demands. This is a biting satire of American politics. I like the way it examined it moral positions that formed this Democracy. Dixwell in Boston where he was graduated in June 1854. His seminal work, The Education of Henry Adams, is one of the greatest autobiographies of all time. Rather, I would supplement them with praise for the way Adams, perhaps not entirely intentionally, depicts--through the love triangle and Machiavellian strategizing between Lee, Ratcliffe, and Carrington--the psychological costs and consequences of a clash between someone, like Adams himself, who is a product of the transformed-yet-still-hanging-onto-remants-of-the-18th-century social world of the old money East--namely, Lee--and two others: the weirdly admirable perhaps because unrelatable? Lee, for a time, foolishly thinks she wants to be used.