Henry Adams 1838-1918
Henry Adams's great-grandfather as well as his grandfather,
both, were presidents of the United States.
Henry Adams's father was a diplomat. Henry's mother came from a ridiculously wealthy family in Boston.
Welcome to the upper crust.
Interestingly, Henry Adams later
wrote in his autobiography that
"Power is poison." Here is the excerpt:
Those who seek
education in the paths of duty are always
deceived by the illusion that power in the
hands of friends is an advantage to them. As
far as Adams could teach experience, he was
bound to warn them that he had found it an
poison. Its effect on Presidents had been
always tragic, chiefly as an almost insane
excitement at first, and a worse reaction
afterwards; but also because no mind is so
well-balanced as to bear the strain of
seizing unlimited force without habit or
knowledge of it; and finding it disputed
with him by hungry packs of wolves and
hounds whose lives depend on snatching the
enjoyed a singularly direct nature and
honest intent, but he lived naturally in
restless agitation that would have worn out
most tempers in a month, and his first year
of Presidency showed chronic excitement that
made a friend tremble.
The effect of
unlimited power on limited mind is worth
noting in Presidents because it must
represent the same process in society, and
the power of self-control must have limit
somewhere in face of the control of the
Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams.
Volume written in 1905.
Here you can read the entire work
online and free.
And a little bit
further on this piece of literature:
For The Education of Henry Adams,
was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in
1919. Having already been dead in 1919, the Pulitzer was posthumously.
It was the second year in the existence of the
Pulitzer Prize, by the way.
Adams felt a wee bit misplaced in history. He loved all things
comes to mind) and, a Harvard man, Henry Adams became Professor for medieval
Here is more on
Henry Adam's great-grandfather,
And here is more
on his grandfather,
John Quincy Adams.