Abstract: The influence of Niccolò Machiavelli’s thought on John Adams’s political theory and principal writings has received not insubstantial attention in history and political science scholarship. This research both builds upon and departs from previous studies by focusing on Adams’s other major works, namely, “A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law” and the “Novanglus” essays, to illustrate Adams’s alignment with, and profound intellectual debt to, Machiavelli’s principles as delineated in the latter’s major work, Discourses on Livy. This study supplements the scholarly understanding of Adams’s theorizing by examining the American statesman and Machiavelli together in the overlooked early stages of Adams’s Revolutionary career. Furthermore, it challenges interpretations of Adams with respect to how he has been ideologically framed in contemporary historical discourses assessing the Enlightenment.
top of page
bottom of page