5 thoughts on “Henry Adams and the Age of Grant

  1. Candice Shy Hooper April 9, 2016 / 4:20 am

    Good Sunday morning reading, too! Fascinating.

  2. bob carey April 10, 2016 / 1:54 am

    Great piece of writing and research.
    I remember a movie call “The Magnificent Yankee”, a bio-pic of Oliver Wendell Holmes, in which Henry Adams was portrayed as a snobby know it all who presumed to give unsolicited advice to Holmes on a variety of issues. I thought it was an entertaining movie, but I didn’t know how accurate it was. After reading your insights into Adams’ thoughts and views I think the movie wasn’t that far off base.

  3. Mark April 10, 2016 / 1:42 pm

    It’s a great piece. That Grant got an unfair shake by historians is the one thing Lib commenters here agree on with Conservatives. The comment box here is a place that the Weekly Standard is reviled in the most extreme terms, and yet readers of that magazine couldn’t fail to know all about the issue about Grant. Michael Barone’s review of Scaturro “Grand and the HIstorians: A Better President Than They Think” was not the first, nor the last detailed article on Grant. Grant’s presidency and actions on any number of things, including the KKK, have been common fare from it’s inception and still. I guess it just goes to show that reality is Conservative. No matter how Liberal a person is, when it comes to things about which they’re knowledgable and committed, the Liberalism slides off.

  4. Shoshana Bee April 10, 2016 / 11:36 pm

    In my quest for the genesis of the Grant hatred, this article came at a good time. I wanted relief from the diabolical Lost Cause Myth that permeated every irritatingly combative discourse that I had over the last two weeks. In walks Henry Adams to shake things up a bit. I was one of the legions of students forced to read The Education of Henry Adams in a literature class, far away from home, out of place and out of time. Needless to say, a 24-hour cram session with Adams did not leave me enamoured by his inflated sense of self. I wanted to re-read what Adams wrote about Grant, and by the miracle of Gutenberg, I was able to instantly access a copy of the book, and I ended up reading a whole lot more than I anticipated. The vitriol is all still there, but to process it with the mind of an adult, I came away with a view of a man trapped somewhere between a sense of entitlement and a crushing inferiority complex. A man whose ship had sailed was now looking back at a man expecting his ship to come in, and I was still never certain if Adams understood how often he undermined his own ambitions. Grant was a confluence of incongruities, and this probably irritated Adams more than anything, as nothing in Grant’s life predisposed him for the legacy that he was to embark on. Such greatness was for great men of name and stature – the class that Adams knew and desired to be -, and so an era was passing before the disenchanted outsider. After a while, I forgot why I had picked up the Adams book in the first place, and just kept reading. After I read my fill, I came away liking Grant even more, as I was reminded once again where he came from and how unlikely it was for a man so humble to achieve so much in a lifetime.

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