AUC Studia Territorialia (Acta Universitatis Carolinae Studia Territorialia) is a peer-reviewed academic journal focusing on Area Studies. It covers political, economic, social, and cultural affairs of North America, Europe, and post-Soviet Eurasia in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The journal was founded in 2001; currently, it appears biannually, both electronically and in print. It publishes original scholarly articles, book reviews, conference reports and research notes. The journal is a publication of the Institute of International Studies at Charles University’s Faculty of Social Sciences.

AUC STUDIA TERRITORIALIA, Vol 15 No 3 (2015), 27–44

John Adams and the Politics of Disjunction

Marcin Gajek

announced: 08. 06. 2016


While John Adams’ position as one of the prominent founding fathers has never been disputed, his presidency is predominantly assessed as mediocre. Many scholars argued that Adams was not only deprived of leadership and executive skills, but that he also lacked a coherent policy vision. The present paper argues that Adams’ failure as a chief-executive resulted not from the lack of a set agenda but rather from his outdated visions of politics and presidency. Both his leadership style and specific policies pursued by him constitute an example of the politics of disjunction. His desire to follow Washington’s Farewell Address was doomed to failure because of the quick transformation of American politics at the beginning of the nineteenth century. At the same time, his attachment to the classical ideal of the “aristocratic republic” was indefensible in the era of progressing democratization of popular moods. Combined, those two elements resulted in Adams failing to provide strong leadership to the Federalist party and to his inability to secure presidential re-election.

keywords: United States; John Adams; presidency; politics of disjunction

148 x 210 mm
published: 2 x per year
print price: 180 czk
ISSN: 1213-4449
E-ISSN: 2336-3231