Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Contradictions unbalanceable......

"Monroe found that he could rely on Adams' nonpartisan judgment and deep knowledge of foreign affairs, as well as his gift for foreseeing even remote consequences of present actions."

"Clay was what we would call today a foreign policy idealist, demanding the America act abroad according to its values at home, rather than according to a strict calculus of its interests."

"And, like many other leading figures of the time, Clay viewed (Andrew) Jackson as a genuinely dangerous man, a Caesar in waiting."

"But America's expansion produced internal contradictions that finally became too acute to be ignored, for the incorporation of each new state from annexed territory forced the dreaded question of slavery.  Would the new state be slave or free?"

"What were his views?  Until that time, Adams had held two contradictory ideas in his mind - that slavery was an unmitigated evil and that the wishes of slave owners ought to be accommodated in the name of more pressing matters."

"The debate over Missouri forced Adams for the first time to acknowledge slavery as a calamitous evil that could not simply be placed in balance with other wrongs."

-James Traub, a few excerpts from  John Quincy Adams:  Militant Spirit

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