Charles Francis Adams, junior was the second son of Chas. Francis Adams sr. who was the second son of President John Quincy Adams. Senior who had a varied carrer as historian, soldier and railroad president. He is #5 in Jones’s 1000 Nativities. His younger brother was Henry Adams, the American historian, and private secretary to his father, and a student of the British philosopher-economist John Stuart Mill. Henry wrote a History of the United States in nine volumes which was considered the best in its day emphasizing, as was the Adams way, the diplomatic relationships between the Founders and their negotiations with Europe. The two brothers corresponded greatly through their lives on important American and international topics

As the middle child, his older brother, John Quincy Adams,, named in honour of the former presidential grandfather, was nominated for vice president, against newspaper man Horace Greeley, by failed to win his bid. Thus from such an illustriious family, Charles Francis Adams jr entered the world on May 27,1835 in Boston. Jr. like the rest of the family he went to the local college, Harvard, and served on the Union site of the Civil War, receiving in 1865 the title brevet brigardier-general for his bravery and leadership skills.

The War Between the States

Brevet is an honorary title in the United States Army much like it was in the British before. There were here are ten ranks of combatant officers in the army, that roughly equate to the European system as a whole.  The Brevet rank is usually given for distinguished service in the field, or  can be for length of service : but it begins with the rank of major and up and ends with major-general. 

While you cannot be a brevet captain.,but can be a brevet major.  So a captain who is brevet major  retains his place among the captains of his regiment, and continues to perform a captain’s duties in his regiment; but on any duties where the officers of several regiments are mixed he takes his. place as major, and would command captains.  A good example is George Armstrong Custer, who  was a captain after the Civil War but held the rank of Brevet Major General for his bravery in the face of battle.

Post War Days and Henry George

After the war ,t Adams married Mary Hone Ogden on November 7, 1865. They had five children three daughters  Mary Ogden Adams, born July 27 1867, . Louisa Adams, born in 1871 and . Elizabeth Ogden Adams, born in 1873; and twin sons John and Henry born July 17, 1875. The last two graduated Harvard in 1898 and for which he gave the commencement address.

He was then president for the Union Pacific Railroad and wrote Railroads, Their Origins and Problems (1878) and president of the Massachusetts Single Tax League, an organization supporting American economic ist Henry George’s Anti-Statism theories.

George’s 543 page  treatise Progress and Poverty published in 1879 extolled the individual’s effort  to amass wealth,  and recommended Free Trade and a single FLAT tax on unimproved land, because that is only good for grazing,.  He wrote the improvements  landlords make on the land are because of their labor (or those they acquired the land from) and thus is earned income, not taxable to the government until it was sold.  As in George’s economic theory, all  landowners had to sell at death – there was no land inheritance and no immortal corporation — everything created by people was also organic as the creators, and thus had a lifetime. In the same vein, George e felt the government, like a householder, should live within in their means.        

Count Leo Tolstoi thought “One would have thought that it must be as clear as day to any educated man of our time, that the possession of land by people who do not cultivate it themselves, but prevent hundreds, nay thousands, of starving families from access to the same, must be a state of things as immoral as the possession of slaves.”  And Albert Einstein, thought Henry George was the rare and  “beautiful combination of intellectual keenness, artistic forum, with a fervent love of justice.” 

Historical Legacy

Adams’s third house of writing and brothers is intercepted in Cancer highlighting his deep concern for them.

After his writing, Three Episodes of Massachusetts History (1892(, a biography of his father, Charles Francis Adams (1900) and Lee at Appomattox and Other Papers. He became head of the American Historical Association in 1901, after which he wrote his two last books, Theodore Lyman and Robert Charles Winthrop, jr:  Two Memoirs  and finally Three Phi Beta Kappa Addresses (1907) which he gave at Harvard commencements. He died on his birthday ,May 27, 1915, right before the start of World War I.

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