John and J. Q. Adams
This chapter considers the symbolic associations between Burke and John Adams (1735–1826). Though Adams is considered an “American Burke,” he neither consulted Burke for guidance nor invoked him for authority. Even so, there is much about Adams that seems congruent with Burke at first glance, especially because both men were critical of the French Revolution from its early stages, among others. Unlike Burke however, Adams wrote little on the subject of the French Revolution, and one can even conclude that Adams sided more with Burke than with Paine in the French Revolution debate. Though even granting this, his ideas on some core matters diverged significantly from Burke's. The chapter argues that the identification of John Adams as an American Burke is a distraction that reveals more about those making the claim than it does about the actual relationship between the political thought of the two statesmen.
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