Citizen Leadership in the Young Republic | National Humanities Center

America in Class Lessons

Citizen Leadership in the Young Republic

Advisor: Casper, Scott E. (NHC Fellow, 2005–06)

By Wason, Marianne (NHC Assistant Director of Education Programs, Online Resources, 1997–2014)

In this study of the letters of John Adams and John Quincy Adams from 1774 to 1793, two central themes are highlighted — how Adams unfolded his “curriculum” for citizen leadership, and how his point of view changed from parent-teacher to mentor-guide as John Quincy entered the realm of American political life. To Adams, a citizen leader of the United States needed to exhibit upstanding moral character and self-discipline, acquire a solid foundation in classical learning, develop keen insight into the political dynamics of a democracy, and accept the challenges and sacrifices of public life. As his son grew from a child into a young man, John Adams fostered these qualities through the long-distance medium of letters.

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Political Science / History / Education Studies / American History / Democracy / Citizenship / Leadership / Correspondence / Families / Primary Sources /