The Christian Science Monitor

'Friends Divided' explores the remarkable, stormy friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams

Conspiracy theories run amok. Fear of spies and meddling in American politics at the highest levels by foreign powers. A bipartisan divide so bitter that the federal government moves to muzzle what many politicians believe to be a biased, out-of-control news media.

Sound familiar? Of course, all of the above puts us smack in the middle of … the Adams administration. Make that the first Adams administration – as in John Adams, the fiery New England patriot (sorry, Tom Brady) who succeeded George Washington after eight years as Washington’s vice-president. As for the qualifier of the first Adams administration, John Adams’ son, John Quincy, won the presidency in 1825. (John Quincy Adams ran against Andrew Jackson in the 1824 election; neither candidate gained a majority of electoral votes, forcing Congress to decide the race in February 1825.)

Revolutionary-era historian Gordon S. Wood, in , his latest book on the period, makes clear just how fragile the American experiment had become once Washington

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