Event Details

  • Multiple Days: 03/27/2014, 04/24/2014, 05/29/2014, 06/19/2014

    Location: Adams National Historical Park and Adams Academy Time: 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM Fee Information: Free

Adams National Historical Park and the Quincy Historical Society present

The War of 1812 Lecture Series






You will now, my dearest friend, receive in the most exclusive confidence whatever I shall write to you on the subject- say not a word of it to any human being until the result shall be publically known

   John Q. Adams to Louisa C. Adams in August 1814 of the negotiations to end the War of 1812


I am fully sensible of the difficulty of your situation and should most sincerely rejoice to hear that any hope of a settlement could be entertained.The situation of our country is dreadful, but we must hope that it will mend…

Louisa C. Adams to John Quincy during peace negotiations to end the War of 1812










 Thursday, March 27
War of 1812 Nearly Destroys the UnitedStates!
Robert Allison, Author, historian and Professor at Suffolk University
Location:  Quincy Historical Society, 8 Adams Street, Quincy, MA

 Its promoters thought the war would bring Canada into the Union, but instead it nearly drove New England out of it, and the enemy blockaded the coast and burned the capital. But the United States emerged from this disastrous war stronger than before. The War of 1812 and its unlikely victory--achieved through naval strength on the Great Lakes, and the diplomatic mission led by John Quincy Adams, gave the nation a sense of unity and purpose, a timeless symbol in Old Ironsides, heroes such as Decatur, Hull, Scott, and Jackson, and a national anthem.  

Thursday, April 24
A Firm and Universal Peace: Legacies of the War of 1812
Margherita Desy, Historian, Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston
Location:  Quincy Historical Society, 8 Adams Street, Quincy, MA

This presentation will review the several legacies of the War of 1812, including the "universal peace" that has remained between the United States and Great Britain and the United States and Canada (resulting in the longest, undefended foreign border in the whole world).  Both positive and negative legacies of the war will be discussed, including the war's effect on Native Americans, how the War of 1812 has been commemorated in memorials and shrines, and the preservations of Boston-built USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides".

 Thursday, May 29
John Quincy Adams from the War of 1812 to Lincoln & the Civil War
 Fred Kaplan, Author and Professor Emeritus of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Location:Adams National Historical Park, Adams Carriage House, 135 Adams Street, Quincy, MA

 The sweep of John Quincy Adams' career includes two wars, one in which he was an indirect but important participant, the War of 1812, which included his attempt to settle with the British the American claim that Britain owed the United States compensation for slaves that had left with the British military during the Revolutionary War. The other war he saw coming. In his prophetic vision, the rising shadow of what he came to believe was an inevitable civil war over slavery haunted him during the last decades of his life. He had become convinced that slavery would destroy the Union unless it was eradicated. When he collapsed with his fatal stroke in the House of Representatives in February 1846, Abraham Lincoln was in the same room. Unlike Adams, Lincoln did not think that slavery would be the rock against which the nation would crack & fall apart. The South, he believed, would not succumb to the folly of secession. Adams knew the Southern mind better than Lincoln did. By temperament & almost wilful self-delusion, Lincoln hoped, even expected, until the stark reality was forced upon him, that good sense & the "better angels of our nature" would prevail & that slavery could be eliminated peacefully, over time. Adams never believed that would be possible. He predicted the inevitable war.   

 Fred Kaplan, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Lincoln, returns with John Quincy Adams, an illuminating biography of one of the most overlooked presidents in American history—a leader of sweeping perspective whose progressive values helped shape the course of the nation.

 Thursday, June 19

American Phoenix: John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence

Jane Hampton Cook, Author historian, and national media commentator
Location:   Adams National Historical Park, Adams Carriage House, 135 Adams Street, Quincy, MA

American Phoenix is the sweeping, riveting tale of a grand historic adventure across forbidding oceans and frozen tundra—from the bustling ports and towering birches of Boston to the remote reaches of pre-Soviet Russia, from an exile in arctic St. Petersburg to resurrection and reunion among the gardens of Paris. Upon these varied landscapes this Adams and his Eve must find a way to transform their banishment into America’s salvation.

Author, historian, and national media commentator Jane Hampton Cook breathes life into once-obscure history, weaving a meticulously researched biographical tapestry that reads like a gripping novel. With the arc and intrigue of Shakespearean drama in a Jane Austen era, American Phoenixis a timely yet timeless addition to the recent renaissance of works on the founding Adams family, from patriarchs John and Abigail to the second-generation of John Quincy and Louisa and beyond.

Cook has crafted not only a riveting narrative but also an easy-to-understand history filled with fly-on-the-wall vignettes from 1812 and its hardscrabble, freedom-hungry people. While unveiling vivid portrayals of each character—a colorful assortment of heroes and villains, patriots and pirates, rogues and rabble-rousers—she paints equally fresh, intimate portraits of both John Quincy and Louisa Adams. Cook artfully reveals John Quincy's devastation after losing the job of his dreams, battle for America's need to thrive economically, and sojourn to secure his homeland's survival as a sovereign nation. She reserves her most detailed brushstrokes for the inner struggles of Louisa, using this quietly inspirational woman's own words to amplify her fears, faith, and fortitude along a deeply personal, often heart-rending journey. Cook's close-up perspective shows how this American couple's Russian destination changed US destiny.


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