The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography
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As a journalist, historian, and novelist born into a family that included two past Presidents, Henry Adams was forever focused on the experiences and expectations unique to America. A prompt bestseller and Pulitzer Prize-winner, The Education of Henry Adams (1918) recounts his own and his country's development from 1838--the year Adams was born--up to 1905, thus incorporating the Civil War, unprecedented capitalist expansion, and the growth of the United States as a world power. Adams considered the nation both a success and a failure, and this paradox was the very impetus that compelled him to set down his Education--in the pages of which he also voiced a deep skepticism about mankind's ability to control the direction of history. Written with immense wit and irony, reassembling the past while glimpsing at the future, this book wholly expresses what Henry James declared the "complex fate" of being an American. Adams's thoroughly documented vision remains one of the most absorbing American autobiographies ever written.
legation, his portrait gallery of great men was becoming large, and it amused him to add an authentic likeness of the greatest general the world had seen since Napoleon. Badeau's analysis was rather delicate; infinitely superior to that of Sam Ward or Charles Nordhoff. Badeau took Adams to the White House one evening and introduced him to the President and Mrs. Grant. First and last, he saw a dozen Presidents at the White House, and the most famous were by no means the most agreeable, but he
Adams's education, at his entry into life, stopped, and his life began. He had to take that life as he best could, with such accidental education as luck had given him; but he held that it was wrong, and that, if he were to begin again, he would do it on a better system. He thought he knew nearly what system to pursue. At that time Alexander Agassiz had not yet got his head above water so far as to serve for a model, as he did twenty or thirty years afterwards; but the editorship of the North
astonished to get none. Education ran riot at Chicago, at least for retarded minds which had never faced in concrete form so many matters of which they were ignorant. Men who knew nothing whatever - who had never run a steam-engine, the simplest of forces - who had never put their hands on a lever - had never touched an electric battery - never talked through a telephone, and had not the shadow of a notion what amount of force was meant by a watt or an ampere or an erg, or any other term of
needs the values of a Dynamic Theory of History. CHAPTER XXXIII A DYNAMIC THEORY OF HISTORY (1904) A DYNAMIC theory, like most theories, begins by begging the question: it defines Progress as the development and economy of Forces. Further, it defines force as anything that does, or helps to do work. Man is a force; so is the sun; so is a mathematical point, though without dimensions or known existence. Man commonly begs the question again taking for granted that he captures the forces.
is so very suspicious," - he began, and this he actually wrote in good faith and deep confidence to Lord Palmerston, his chief, calling "the conduct" of the rebel agents "suspicious" when no one else in Europe or America felt any suspicion about it, because the whole question turned not on the rams, but on the technical scope of the Foreign Enlistment Act, - "that I have thought it necessary to direct that they should be detained," not, of course, under the statute, but on the ground urged by the