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United States: Essays 1952-1992 - Study Guide "The Four Generations of the Adams Family" (1976) Summary & Analysis

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John Adams was born in 1735 in Massachusetts, the founder of a family line that remained at the center of national and world political affairs for almost two centuries. Four generations of this brilliant but self-effacing family ended, Vidal says, with Henry Adams who is recalled by a conversation Vidal had as a young person with Eleanor Roosevelt. The first lady scolded Adams gently for his cynicism about history when her husband was just starting his political career.

"Young man," Adams told president-to-be Roosevelt, "it doesn't make the slightest difference who lives in that [White House], history goes on with or without the president." As an amateur historian, Henry Adams spent his last days trying to understand the forces that shape history—and finally abandoned...

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This section contains 559 words
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Buy the United States: Essays 1952-1992 Study Guide
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