An intellectual dialogue of the highest plane achieved in America,
the correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson spanned
half a century and embraced government, philosophy, religion,
quotidiana, and family griefs and joys. First meeting as delegates
to the Continental Congress in 1775, they initiated correspondence
in 1777, negotiated jointly as ministers in Europe in the 1780s,
and served the early Republic--each, ultimately, in its highest
office. At Jefferson's defeat of Adams for the presidency in 1800,
they became estranged, and the correspondence lapses from 1801 to
1812, then is renewed until the death of both in 1826, fifty years
to the day after the Declaration of Independence.
Lester J. Cappon's edition, first published in 1959 in two volumes,
provides the complete correspondence between these two men and
includes the correspondence between Abigail Adams and Jefferson.
Many of these letters have been published in no other modern
edition, nor does any other edition devote itself exclusively to
the exchange between Jefferson and the Adamses. Introduction,
headnotes, and footnotes inform the reader without interrupting the
speakers. This reissue of The Adams-Jefferson Letters in a
one-volume unabridged edition brings to a broader audience one of
the monuments of American scholarship and, to quote C. Vann
Woodward, 'a major treasure of national literature.'
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