John Quincy Adams: A Militant Spirit with James Traub

Few figures in American history have held as many roles in public life as John Quincy Adams. The son of John Adams, he was a brilliant ambassador and secretary of state, a frustrated president, and a dedicated congressman who staunchly opposed slavery.

Watch an exciting webinar featuring author and journalist, James Traub, as we discuss his new book, “John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit.” Traub draws on Adams’ diaries, letters, and writings to evoke his numerous achievements and failures in office. A man of unwavering moral convictions, Adams is the father of foreign policy “realism” and one of the first proponents of the “activist government.” But John Quincy Adams is first and foremost the story of a brilliant, flinty, and unyielding man whose life exemplified admirable political courage.


James Traub is an historian, journalist, and scholar. Over a career of almost fifty years, he has written extensively about international affairs, national politics, urban issues, and education. Traub is a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a regular contributor to Foreign Policy magazine. Currently, he teaches American foreign policy and intellectual history at NYU Abu Dhabi.

He worked as a staff writer for The New Yorker from 1993 to 1998 and as a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine from 1998 to 2011. His tenth and most recent book, True Believer: Hubert Humphrey’s Quest For A More Just America, was published in February. His other books include What Was Liberalism? The Past, Present, and Promise of Noble Idea as well as biographies of John Quincy Adams and the Jewish Confederate leader Judah Benjamin. He is currently writing a book about the role that schools should play–and now largely fail to play–in preparing young people for democratic citizenship.

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