[Ulysses S. Grant]

Grant Administration Criticized by Henry Adams, He Critiques the Constitution his Great Grandfather Helped Write

Grant Administration Criticized by Henry Adams, He Critiques the Constitution his Great Grandfather Helped Write


[ULYSSES S. GRANT.] Henry Brooks Adams, “A Radical Indictment! The Administration—Its Corruptions & Shortcomings. Its Weakness and Stolidity. Thorough Analysis of Grant and Boutwell’s Mental Calibre. No Policy—No Ability. A Graphic Review of Our Recent Political History,” Printed Document, National Democratic Executive Resident Committee, [1870]. 16 pp., 6.25" x 9.5".  Uncut; edges folded and torn in several places not affecting text; light soiling.


This pamphlet is an edited and sensationally retitled reprint of Henry Brooks Adams’s article “The Session” in The North American Review of July 1870. It was published by the National Democratic Executive Resident Committee as an indictment of the Grant administration. It concludes that the systems of federalism and separation of powers framed by the U.S. Constitution cannot continue to serve the needs of the nation. Any “statesman or philosopher” who wanted to discuss these issues, Adams concluded pompously, needed to address the “minds of the few persons” whose primary interest was “the working out of the great problems of human society under all their varied conditions.”



“the original basis of reserved powers on which the Constitution was framed has yielded and is yielding to natural pressure, and the gradual concession of power to the central government has already gone so far as to leave little doubt of the conclusion that the great political problem of all ages cannot, at least in a community like that of the future America, be solved by the theory of the American constitution.... the system of separate responsibility realized in the mechanism of the American government as a necessary consequence of its jealous restriction of substantial powers, will inevitably yield, as its foundation has yielded, to the mere pressure of necessity. The result is not one on which it is pleasant to look.”


Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918) was born in Boston, the son of Charles Francis Adams, Abraham Lincoln’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. Both his grandfather and great grandfather had been presidents of the United States. Henry Adams graduated from Harvard University in 1858 and left for a grand tour of Europe. After a brief attempt at practicing law, Adams became his father’s private secretary and accompanied him to London in 1861. There, he was also an anonymous correspondent for the New York Times. He returned to the United States in 1868 and settled in Washington, D.C., as a journalist. In 1870, he became professor of medieval history at Harvard, a position he held until his early retirement in 1877. He returned to Washington, D.C. and worked as a journalist and historian. He published a nine-volume History of the United States of America between 1889 and 1891. He self-published The Education of Henry Adams in 1907, but it was published by the Massachusetts Historical Society after his death in 1918 and won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography.


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Item: 67621

Price: $500.00
[Ulysses S. Grant][Ulysses S. Grant][Ulysses S. Grant]
[Ulysses S. Grant]
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