CFP the Adams Family and the American Revolution

Richard Samuelson's picture

Call for Papers: The Adams Family

and the American Revolution

Sons of the American Revolution: Annual Conference on the American Revolution

June 9-11, 2017

In honor of the 250th anniversary of the birth of John Quincy Adams in July, 2017, the Sons of the American Revolution’s annual conference on the American Revolution will investigate “The Adams Family and the American Revolution.”

John Adams famously wrote that “I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.”  The comment seems to describe the story of the family in the generations from John to Henry Adams.  Yet the Adamses, whatever else they did, were political men and women.   In 1821, an aging John Adams wrote his grandson George Washington Adams, an aspiring poet, that he must study politics, for “without some knowledge of it you will be always in confusion, blown about by every wind.”  Politics were central to the story of the Adams family from the start, and at the foundation of the family’s politics was the American Revolution, a revolution that would create an American republic. 

With that in mind, this conference proposes to explore the Adams family’s understanding of the nature, meaning, and significance of the American Revolution over the generations from John and Abigail to Henry and Brooks Adams.  It will focus on the way their understanding of the American Revolution shaped their writings and their works from the Writs of Assistance Case in 1761 to Henry Adams’ death in the early 20th Century.

In support of their Congressional mandate to encourage historical research, the Sons of the American Revolution invites paper proposals from graduate students and advanced scholars in history and political science on any topic relating to the Adams family and the American Revolution.

This year’s conference will honor Lyman H. Butterfield, the distinguished founding Editor of the Adams Papers for his many contributions to the field of documentary editing in general and to the study of the Adams family in particular.

Publication of accepted papers in a published volume is anticipated.  The SAR will cover presenters’ travel and lodging expenses, and shall offer a $500 stipend.

Papers will be delivered in Quincy, Massachusetts, June 9-11, 2017.  Paper proposals should include a short, 250 word abstract of the proposed paper and a short CV, and be submitted to Richard Samuelson, (, Associate Professor of History, California State University, San Bernardino, by December 15, 2016.