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Henry Adams Grows Up

The Early Years of a Conspicuous American / Selections from The Education of Henry Adams

by Henry Adams

Henry Adams was born in Boston in 1838 to one of the most distinguished of American families, a scion of presidents and diplomats. In other than a democracy, the family would have been recognized as aristocracy, but in America each Adams generation would have to prove itself. No Adams was ever a politician in the ordinary sense, and no one of them had any regard for “public opinion.” But they did covet power—in the service of their country and in the direction of public affairs. Each Adams generation became aware of this tradition, and in the case of Henry, he felt himself to be a comparative failure because his instincts ran toward literature and spiritual adventure. The Education is autobiography, but it is also suffused with Henry’s awareness of the burden of his heritage, and his attempt to make sense of his own path in the midst of a changing America. His unease may be found even in these selections from the Education that describe his early years in New England and then at Harvard. Throughout the book, this matching of himself against his family tradition and the spirit of his times is a quality that has made The Education of Henry Adams an enduring and illuminating perspective on the American past.

Henry Adams Grows Up details:

ISBN: 1937853373

Words: 14,425

Pages: 32

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Tags:  Adams family - industrialism - Gilded Age - Darwinism - Lincoln - civil war - Jacksonian era