Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family

Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family


Reflecting on his past, President John Adams mused that it was religion that had shaped his family's fortunes and young America's future. For the nineteenth century's first family, the Adamses of Massachusetts, the history of how they lived religion was dynamic and well-documented. Christianity supplied the language that Abigail used to interpret husband John's political setbacks. Scripture armed their son John Quincy to act as father, statesman, and antislavery
advocate. Unitarianism gave Abigail's Victorian grandson, Charles Francis, the religious confidence to persevere in political battles on the Civil War homefront. By contrast, his son Henry found religion hollow and repellent compared to the purity of modern science. Religion helped Abigail's
great-grandson Brooks, a Gilded Age critic of capitalism, to prophesy two world wars.

Globe-trotters who chronicled their religious journeys extensively, the Adamses ultimately developed a cosmopolitan Christianity that blended discovery and criticism, faith and doubt. Drawing from their rich archive of art and letters, Sara Georgini, the series editor for The Papers of John Adams, demonstrates how pivotal Christianity-as the different generations understood it-was in shaping the family's decisions, great and small. Spanning nearly four centuries of faith from Puritan
New England to the Jazz Age, Household Gods tells a new story of American religion, as the president's family lived it.

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