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Excerpt from '"Ecstatic Nation" by Brenda Wineapple

Excerpt from '"Ecstatic Nation" by Brenda Wineapple

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Published by OnPointRadio
From ECSTATIC NATION by Brenda Wineapple © 2013 Brenda Wineapple. Reprinted courtesy of Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
From ECSTATIC NATION by Brenda Wineapple © 2013 Brenda Wineapple. Reprinted courtesy of Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Published by: OnPointRadio on Aug 26, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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09/10/2013

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Prologue: The End of Earth
T
hey called him Old Man Eloquent, but he was more thanthat, more than eloquent; he was resolute, canny, cantanker-ous. And though he liked to quote the Bible and Shakespeareand to rame an irreutable argument, he could also be eloquentlybrusque. In act, he had just uttered one unwavering word that day inthe House.
No
, he had said, and “no” summarized how John QuincyAdams had spent his long lie— and where, in a sense, his countrywas heading: to a series o negatives, or good and or ill, that brookedno compromise or conversation.No: “No is the wildest word we consign to the language,” asEmily Dickinson would say. The sixth president o the United States,eighty-one years old and a crusty member o the House o Rep-resentatives, had spoken loud and clear. It was the early aternoonon Monday, February 21, 1848. With his bald head ringed witha crown o white hair and a permanent scowl carved deep into hisbroad ace, Adams struck his colleagues as the same as ever— hale,hearty, orthright— despite o course the minor stroke he had su-ered not too long ago. Yet he still could pursue an objective withunrelenting, single-minded ocus. His grandson Henry Adams longremembered the summer day when he had been about six or sevenand had rebelled against going to school until his grandather, having
EcstaticNation_i_xii_1_724.indd 16/10/13 10:33 AM

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