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February 17, 2021 33 min

Alcoholism, depression, suicide… you think you know the Adams family? There’s a few details about this family that you may not have heard in history class. Here in episode 15, we explore four generations of Adams from our second US President to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Henry Brooks Adams. With their extraordinary intellect and iron resolve, these men (and the women behind them) made immeasurable contributions not only to the founding of this country, but also to international relations and to the abolishment of slavery. In spite of heart-breaking personal tragedies that plagued every generation of Adams, this family is a fascinating study in patience and perseverance. 

 Episode Edits:

  • Technically, the United Kingdom did not exist until 1801. From 1707-1801 the correct term is Great Britain.
  • There are several illustrations depicting the collapse of John Quincy Adams in Congress on February 21, 1848. One engraving hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in DC and another, by Nathaniel Currier, resides in the Library of Congress. 
  •  Episode Resources:


  • John Adams by David McCullough
  • John Quincy Adams: American Visionary by Fred Kaplan
  • The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams
  • The Last American Aristocrat by David S. Brown
  •  Movies:

  • John Adams (2008) starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney
  • Amistad (1997) starring Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Matthew McConaughey
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