U.S. Presidents as Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook

By Halford Ryan | Go to book overview

James M. Farrell


John Adams (1735-1826)

Can any thing essential, any thing more than mere ornament and decoration, be added to this by robes and diamonds?

On July 2, 1826, a representative from the Independence Day committee of Quincy, Massachusetts, visited the aged former president, John Adams, at his home, inviting his participation in the planned celebration of the coming fiftieth anniversary jubilee of the nation's independence. Unable to attend the celebration because of his failing health, the 90 year-old Adams instead suggested a toast be offered in his name during the festivities. That toast, "Independence Forever," was the last public utterance of John Adams. He died at six o'clock in the evening on July 4, 1826.

Adam's final eloquent gesture enunciated the one essential principle that guided his long and distinguished public career. Indeed, the compass of independence was never more important than when Adams steered America's course during his presidency, from 1797-1801. Throughout his term in office, Adams steadfastly resolved to allow neither domestic party passions, nor foreign intrigue to determine his executive direction of the nation. Ultimately, his independence from party cost him a second term. And, as Adams himself expected, the slanders of his political enemies sullied his reputation and left a lasting, if largely mistaken, historical impression.

But Adams was a great president. His administration was dominated by a single foreign policy crisis--the danger of war with France--and his preservation of peace, his willingness to pursue every chance for an honorable settlement of hostilities, even when opposed by a disloyal cabinet, saved the republic from what may have been, at that early age, a fatal national disaster. That he managed with his policies to both incense the Republicans and alienate and

-18-

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U.S. Presidents as Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • An Introduction to Presidential Oratory ix
  • BIBLIOGRAPHICAL SOURCES xvii
  • George Washington (1732-1799) 3
  • Conclusion 15
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 16
  • John Adams (1735-1826) 18
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 26
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 28
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 40
  • James Madison (1751-1836) 43
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 52
  • John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) 54
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 63
  • Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) 65
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 75
  • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) 77
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 89
  • Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 93
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 107
  • Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) 111
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 132
  • Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964) 134
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 144
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) 146
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 164
  • Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) 168
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 187
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) 190
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 204
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963) 210
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 225
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973) 228
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 245
  • Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994) 249
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 269
  • Gerald R. Ford (1913- ) 274
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 296
  • Jimmy Carter (1924- ) 299
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 311
  • Ronald Reagan (1911- ) 316
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 337
  • George Herbert Walker Bush (1924- ) 344
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 358
  • Bill Clinton (1946- ) 361
  • RHETORICAL RESOURCES 374
  • Index 377
  • About the Editor and Contributors 387
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