While a boy, Adams once attempted to avoid going to school by throwing a tantrum against his mother. This ended when "the President" silently ushered him all the way to his school desk. Above all, he had held his tongue. Boutwell's appointment to secretary of the treasury by President Grant suggests that the Grant administration, in Adams' terms, will be victimized by "inertia. A nationwide panic ensued. Sadly, Boutwell represents the type of politician "pathetic in their helplessness to do anything with power when it came to them. Orators like John Bright , one of the most eloquent orators of nineteenth-century Britain, succeed in politics not only as a result of having "the courage of a prize-fighter" but because "Bright knew his Englishmen better than England did.
Adams knows that Bright's methods would not work anywhere but amongst the English. Adams also sees that Bright's verbal violence combines with other qualities. Bright "betrayed no one, and he never advanced an opinion in practical matters that did not prove to be practical. Adams' "other grandfather," Peter Brooks, was a wealthy banker whose fortune at his death was the largest in Boston. Brooks' estate was divided amongst the children and thus the Adams family increased in wealth through Abigail Brown's share.
Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1918)
Senator Cameron of Pennsylvania "had shipwrecked his career in the person of President Grant. For Adams, the Pennsylvanian puts aside his prejudices against the world once his interests are allied with those of others. One of Charles Francis' most valuable friends during his service at the Court of St. James was the duke of Argyll. The duke believed in Russell's honesty and Charles Francis follows him. Their gullibility amazes Adams. Adams had a brief career as a professor at the request of the president of Harvard College, Charles Eliot. After seven years, Adams views collegiate education, even under Eliot's reformed system, as costly and wasteful.
Eliot "hinted that Adams's services merited recognition.
They had long discussions about legal tender as Evarts sought to defend the president's position, although, Evarts had opposed it in the past. One of the British statesmen who helps Charles Francis and the cause of the Union was the talented young radical, William Edward Forster. According to Adams, Forster was "pure gold" even when he eventually became part of the establishment as he rose to the rank of cabinet minister. Gladstone's confession of causes Adams to rethink his education as private secretary to his father. In , Adams learns that Gladstone considered it a mistake on his part to have thought that Jefferson Davis had actually formed a nation—a gross mistake that nearly led to war—but still a mistake.
Dumbfounded by the passage, Adams reflects that "he had seen nothing correctly at the time.
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His whole theory of conspiracy … resolved itself into [Gladstone's] 'incredible grossness. As a reward for his support of McKinley's Republican campaign for the presidency, Hay was appointed the American ambassador to England. However, when William R. Day left to finalize the outcome of the Spanish-American War in Paris, Hay was recalled to serve as secretary of state. He stayed in this position. Hay is the ideal American for Adams in part because he brings to fruition the political machinations of Adams' forebears.
Hay studies John Quincy's work closely and he seeks advice from Adams on a regular basis. In Hay's successful foreign policy, Adams sees "the family work of a hundred and fifty years fell at once into the grand perspective of true empire building. Adams' continuing hopes for a political position are dashed when he finds himself in disagreement with his friend, Ebenezer Hoar, President Grant's attorney general.
Hoar, as Grant's point man, favors the government's right to print paper specie. The Supreme Court decided against this in but after Grant appointed two more justices, the Court found in favor of the government when it revisited the question. As a result of the political fights, Hoar was driven from office. As the first head of the Geological Survey, Clarence King was a remarkable combination of hardy adventurer and scientist. The occupation and exploitation of the continent was made possible due to men like King.
For Adams, King is larger than life—a scientist but also a man who can survive in the wilderness. However, King's abilities do not prevent his tragic end. Losing his fortune in the crash of , King dies alone and forgotten in a hotel in the Southwest. Firstborn child to Charles Francis and Abigail Brown, Louisa "was one of the most sparkling creatures [Adams] met in a long and varied experience of bright women. Adams happily accepts an excuse to leave Germany.
- Reflections on the Work of C.A.R. Hoare (History of Computing).
- The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography.
- Adams, Henry. The Education of Henry Adams.
This experience reminds Adams of the superiority of nineteenth-century American women—especially those of the Adams family—and his preference for being in their control. Though Italy proved to be a wonderful influence on Adams, the death of Louisa becomes a powerful lesson; "he had never seen Nature—only her surface—the sugar-coating that she shows to youth.
Louisa had been thrown from a cab and bruised her foot. Tetanus had set in and "hour by hour the muscles grew rigid, while the mind remained bright, until after ten days of fiendish torture she died in convulsions. Along with Mrs. Cameron, Anna Lodge was a "dispenser of sunshine over Washington. Mirroring the role of Louisa, Anna takes command of Adams. In , when all the world seemed just simply too confusing to Adams, Anna gives him the busy task of serving as traveling companion and tutor to the Lodges and their two sons.
One of Adam's students at Harvard was Henry Lodge. Adams regarded Lodge as a younger brother or nephew and a source of solace toward the end of his life. Adams finds classes at Harvard a bore until he begins to take advantage of the German method of private readings used by James Russell Lowell.
Richard Milnes epitomizes the "gargantuan type," the sort of man who is larger than life and whose grasp seems universal. Milnes was a member of the upper class whose breakfasts were so famous that nobody dared turn down an invitation but died to attend. He knew everyone and excelled in his literary and artistic tastes. As one of the pro-Union faction, he often provided refuge to Charles Francis at his home in Fryston.
When the Adams family journeys to the Court of St. James on behalf of the United States government in , they find the British prime minister to be Palmerston.
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Known for his fiery defense of "British Interest," Adams likens his family to Christians showing up in Rome during the time of Emperor Tiberius when martyring Christians was good sport. Palmerston represents the despotic ruler who sacrifices others on a whim. A study in British politicians is found in Palmerson's betise, John Russell.
Of all the pro-Confederacy members of the British government, Russell's call for recognition of the American rebels is the loudest. In the end, his scheming falls apart and he must bow to Charles Francis and international law by finding new buyers for the deadly ironclads that he wanted to send against the Union Navy. Throughout the text, Adams lists Augustus St. Gaudens among the great artists of his day.
In passing, Adams comments on his aesthetic reaction to the memorial Adams commissioned for Mrs. The statue, in the text, is simply the virgin, the symbol of femininity, opposing the dynamo. Until he disapproves of Charles Francis' appointment to head the legation to St. James Court in London, Charles Sumner stood fast as a friend of the family and a role model to young Adams. While still pursuing their unpopular abolitionist crusade as members of the Free Soil Party in Boston, Sumner stood out amongst Charles Francis' friends as "heroic.
His lack of Boston allies outside the Adams' circle caused Sumner to cultivate his European connections. For this reason, he is one of the few American leaders during the Civil War of which the British think well. Adams presents himself as a scientist who will sample and test various methods of education so that he may offer some wisdom for a man facing the twentieth century.
As he says in the preface, "no one has discussed what part of education has, in his personal experience, turned out to be useful, and what not.
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This volume attempts to discuss it. In the rejection of standard educational systems, Adams formulates an alternative understanding of education. The acquisition of knowledge should not be the mastery of the schoolmaster's unity or the complete embrace of all possible scientific facts.
- The education of Henry Adams; an autobiography.
- The Education Of Henry Adams.
- Do Llamas Fall in Love?: 33 Perplexing Philosophy Puzzles!
- Henry Adams.
- Fire (The Book of Fire Trilogy 1).
Instead, education "required conflict, competition, contradiction" and "accidental education" in order to see the "world exactly as it is. His experience with men, from his grandfather to his students, teaches him about power and the benefit of a balanced mind. His experience with women teaches the profound problem of multiplicity.
Accidental education causes Adams to realize that society does not educate itself "or aimed at a conscious purpose.