Henry Adams

Henry Adams nsIn existographies, Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918) (IQ:195|#23) (RGM:1174|1,500+) (GHE:1) (LR:4) (SN:2) (RE:80) [CR:568], not to be confused with Brooks Adams, his older brother, was an American historian and physical humanities pioneer noted, in hmolscience, for his physico-chemical social dynamics (1908) theory of history, a five-decade plus long effort, to apply and utilize the physical sciences, particularly chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics, employing anchor concepts such as the second law, the kinetic theory of gases, Gibbs phase rule (see: social phase), Maxwell's demon, nebular hypothesis, heat death, social gravity, social acceleration theory, etc., in the study of humans, politically, historically, and philosophically, which he viewed as human molecules (or "phases" or equilibrium states, depending), and countries, via the historical rise and fall change perspective.

Ostwald
Adams, according to Eric Zencey (2013), read the physical energetics and or social energetics work of German physical chemist Wilhelm Ostwald. [26]

Adams, in his 18 May 1910 letter to American academic Barrett Wendell, after discussion the reasonings behind his Letter to Teachers, commenting how it was meant simply to “teach teachers how to teach”, how “Schopenhauer prophecied it nearly a hundred years ago”, etc., commented that:

“Nothing is to be gained by preaching this lesson as a form of energy. It would act as a dissipator of energy. Therefore I have taught it, or tried teaching it, only to the few men who could profit by it to economise their scholar’s energies,—to save them from wasting it on past processes. Economy is all I can see now, as true scientific object for education to pursue. Certain branches of education may soon be lopped off, to advantage.”

then, at the end of which, Adams, citing Ostwald’s L’Energie (1910), states that “Ostwald talks of the possible new catalytic action of some new mind”; though, to note, he seem dismissive of this assertion.

Collected works
Adams penned out the equivalent of a
12-volume plus collected works set. Adams was also a prodigious letter writer, his correspondence runs to six thick published volumes. (Ѻ)

Siblings | Family
See main: Adams family
Henry Adams was born fourth of seven siblings to American historical editor, politician and diplomat Charles Francis Adams, Sr. (1807-1886) (Ѻ) — himself son of 6th American President John Quincy Adams and grandson of 2nd President John Adams (1735-1826) — and Abigail Brown Brooks (1808-1889) (Ѻ) — herself daughter of Boston insurance company millionaire Peter Chardon Brooks (1767-1849) (Ѻ); the seven offspring produced therefrom listed as follows:

1. Louisa Catherine Adams (1831-1870)
2. John Quincy Adams II (1833-1894)
3. Charles Francis Adams, Jr. (1835-1915)
4. Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918)
5. Arthur Adams (1841–1846)
6. Mary Gardiner Adams (1845-1928)
7. Peter Chardon Brooks Adams (1848-1927)
The Education of Henry Adams (Robert Benchley, 1921)
A 1921 cartoon reel (Ѻ) of Adams’ Education.

In 1866, Henry Adams began to write articles for the North American Review, to which his older brother Charles objected, that his younger brother was trespassing on his territory, saying: “damn you, you are treading on my toes”. This initiated a frictional fire between the, Henry ripping on Charles writing style as “nervous” and “intolerable”, Charles eventually withdrawing from battle; a wedge remaining between them, which remained up until 1912, only after Henry had entered into his 1908 to 1912 stroke period decline, amid which “parity ceased to feel either so fragile or so important to him”, as biographer Joanne Jacobson (1992) surmised. In any event, the downward driving force of the wedge, in the 1860s, worked to switch Henry Adams from writing to his older brother Charles to his new English intellectual comrade Charles Gaskell. [33]

Henry Adams, to summarized, was the great grandson of the second American president John Adams, grandson of the sixth American president John Quincy Adams; his maternal grandfather was a millionaire, possessor of the largest estate in Boston at the time, and another great grandfather, Nathaniel Gorham, signed the Constitution.

Early views

On 19 Mar 1861, US president Abraham Lincoln appointed Henry Adams' father Charles Francis Adams, Sr. (1807-1886) (Ѻ) to be US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Henry Adams accompanied him in his private secretary role.

In 1863, Adams, age 25, writing to Charles Gaskell, seems to have begun searching for a universal theory of existence, applicable, in a one nature manner, atoms to humans: [20]

“Everything in this universe has its regular waves and tides. Electricity, sound, the wind, and I believe every part of organic nature will be brought someday within this law. The laws which govern animated beings will be ultimately found to be at bottom the same with those which rule inanimate nature, and as I entertain a profound conviction of the littleness of our kind, and of the curious enormity of creation, I am quite ready to receive with pleasure any basis for a systematic conception of it all. I look for regular tides in the affairs of man, and, of course, in our own affairs. In ever progression, somehow or other, the nations move by the same process which has never been explained but is evident in the oceans and the air. On this theory I should expect at about this time, a turn which would carry us backward.”

This quote is discussed by American comparative literature scholar Matthew Taylor, noted for doing his 2008 PhD dissertation, in part, in Adams’ physics-based theory of human existence. Adams would spend the next 50 years on this subject, becoming one of the first dual pioneers, following Goethe, of human chemistry (see: HC pioneers) and human thermodynamics (see: HT pioneers).

In 1868, Henry Adams returned to the United States and settled in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a journalist exposing political corruption. From 1870 to 1877 he served as Professor of Medieval History at Harvard, then returned to Washington to continue work as a historian. (Ѻ)

Human molecules
In 1873, Adams
read French philosopher Hippolyte Taine's 1869 theory, as found in his On Intelligence, that individual people are "human molecules" and that the job of the historian is to study and follow the transformations of individual human molecules and groups of human molecules. In the decade to follow, Adams seems to have begun to adopt this logic and began to apply chemistry to this approach of history.
In respect to Adams' use of the human molecular theory, American biographer Ernest Samuels notes that Adams seems to have adopted the idea that the historian should consider humans as molecules and consider human motives and history to be subject to the same laws as other physical bodies in the universe from the views of French philosopher Hippolyte Taine as found in his 1869 book On Intelligence in which states in which he prefaces the view that: “The historian notes and follows the general transformations presented by a certain human molecule, or a certain peculiar group of human molecules; and, to explain these transformations, he writes the psychology of the molecule or its group.” Taine’s suggestion to other historians, in short, is that one should study and follow the transformations of human molecules and to write history as the psychology of human molecules.
Henry Adams (thought experiment) 3
A depiction of the so-called "Henry Adams love triangle", in 1885, wherein, seemingly, the introduction of molecule B (Elizabeth Cameron), into the reaction system of Henry Adams, seems to have worked to precipitate the dissolution or detachment of molecule A (Clover Adams) from the AC marriage bond (Henry-Clover relationship), via the action of suicide, on 6 Dec 1885. [13]

Adams came across this viewpoint in 1873 while working as an editor for the North American Review, when he accepted the article “Taine’s Philosophy” by James Bixby for publication, which summarized the views presented in Taine’s new book On Intelligence. [9] Adams had begun to make mention of Taine in his 1880 novel Democracy, an American Novel. [11]

Adams | Love triangle
On 27 Jun 1872, American physical science historian Henry Adams (SN:2) married Marian Hooper otherwise known as Clover Adams.

In Jan 1881, Henry Adams met the 24-year-old Elizabeth Cameron, for the first time, in the drawing room of the house of John Hay can Clara Hay. On 19 May 1883, when Cameron and her husband departed for Europe, Adams initiated a correspondence with Cameron, expressing unhappiness with her departure and his longing for her return.

On 7 Dec 1884, exactly one year before the suicide of Clover Adams, Henry Adams wrote to Cameron:

“I shall dedicate my next poem to you. I shall have you carved over the arch of my stone doorway. I shall publish your volume of extracts with your portrait on the title page. None of these methods can fully express the extent to which I am yours.”

On 12 Apr 1885, Adams, while on an extended work stay-over in Washington, wrote Clover the following:

Social chemistry—the mutual attraction of equivalent human molecules—is a science yet to be created, for the fact is my daily study and only satisfaction in life.”

It would seem, here, to be the case, speculatively speaking, that the three human molecules Adams had in mind in this statement, subsequently, would have been himself, his side love affair (or interest) Elizabeth Cameron, and his wife Clover Adams.

On 13 Apr 1885, Clover’s father died, and this was said to have initiated a period of mourning which evolved into mental depression from which she did not recover.

On 4 Dec 1885, two days before her suicide by cyanide (Dec 6), Clover Adams, visited Elizabeth Cameron, who was then three-months pregnant.

On 6 Dec 1885, Clover died by suicide via swallowing potassium cyanide.

Platitudinous atoms | Human molecules
The influence of Taine on Adams is clearly seen in the 12 April 1885 letter to his wife, written while at extended stay at work in Washington, in which Adams, in full, declares: [10]

“I am not prepared to deny or assert any proposition which concerns myself; but certainly this solitary struggle with platitudinous atoms, called men and women by courtesy, leads me to wish for my wife again. How did I ever hit on the only woman in the world who fits my cravings and never sounds hollow anywhere? Social chemistry—the mutual attraction of equivalent human molecules—is a science yet to be created, for the fact is my daily study and only satisfaction in life.”

In this passage Adams foreshadows the science of human chemistry, or social chemistry as he calls it, defining it as the study of the “mutual attraction of equivalent human molecules”, noting that it is a science yet to be created. He also refers to men and women as "platitudinous atoms", in the human atom sense.

This is similar to Adams earlier letter to his brother Brooks wherein he commented that “an atom is a man and Maxwell’s demon who runs the second law ought to be made president.” [14]
Henry Adams (Cause and Effect)
Adams nine-volume History of the United States of America, covering the years during the Jefferson Administration, 1801 to 1817, written with the sole intention of capturing a single rigorously-detailed moment of causality in the course of human history. Set shown is the nine-volume series published in 1889 to 1891 by Charles Scribner’s Sons. (Ѻ)

History of the United States of American
In 1889 to 1891, Adams published his nine volume History of the United States of America, supposedly, for no other reason than to prove to his own satisfaction that causality exists in the course of history:

Historians undertake to arrange sequences,—called stories, or histories,—assuming in silence a relation of cause and effect. These assumptions, hidden in the depths of dusty libraries, have been astounding, but commonly unconscious and childlike; so much so, that if any captious critic were to drag them to light, historians would probably reply, with one voice, that they had never supposed themselves required to know what they were talking about. Adams, for one, had toiled in vain to find out what he meant.

He had even published a dozen volumes of American history for no other purpose than to satisfy himself whether, by severest process of stating, with the least possible comment, such facts as seemed sure, in such order as seemed rigorously consequent, he could fix for a familiar moment a necessary sequence of human movement. The result had satisfied him as little as at Harvard College.

Where he saw sequence, other men saw something quite different, and no one saw the same unit of measure. He cared little about his experiments and less about his statesmen, who seemed to him quite as ignorant as himself and, as a rule, no more honest; but he insisted on a relation of sequence, and if he could not reach it by one method, he would try as many methods as science knew. Satisfied that the sequence of men led to nothing and that the sequence of their society could lead no further, while the mere sequence of time was artificial, and the sequence of thought was chaos, he turned at last to the sequence of force; and thus it happened that, after ten years’ pursuit, he found himself lying in the Gallery of Machines at the Great Exposition of 1900, his historical neck broken by the sudden irruption of forces totally new.”
— Henry Adams (1900), The Education of Henry Adams 25: The Dynamo and the Virgin)

In 1921, historian William Thayer, in his Annual Report of the American Historical Association, comments on Adams’ history thermodynamics theory by stating that: [7]

“In reading Henry Adams’ astonishing tract, I can not help suspecting at times that he is making fun of us historians; for he proposes, as I think you would agree with me, something which is not only impossible for anyone to carry out but which he himself never even attempted to carry out. In all the nine volumes of his American History, is there a hint of the second law of thermodynamics? Can you discover the slightest trace of a common formula for history and physical chemistry?”

Thayer gives his opinion that it would be an "impossible" task for someone to find a common formula for history and physical chemistry. Interesting comment indeed. Thayer is way off, however, in his assertion that Adams "never even attempted to carry out" his proposal; whereas correctly Adams spent 50-years on this problem (1873-1918).

In 1945, Morris Zucker, in vicarious answer to Thayer’s where in "in all nine volumes" query, cites the final section of the ninth volume, pages 242-42, as being "where" Adams discussed the second law as he viewed it. [24]

Human thermodynamics
In 1894, Adams was elected president of the American Historical Association. His address, entitled "The Tendency of History," was delivered in absentia. The essay predicted the development of a scientific approach to history, but was somewhat ambiguous as to what this achievement might mean.

In 1895, Henry's younger brother Lawyer-Historian Brooks Adams
published his The Law of Civilization and Decay, in which he applied the Helmholtz-version of the first law, i.e. that energy or force is conserved, Kelvin-version of the second law, i.e. that there is a universal tendency to the dissipation of energy, along with a theory of social contractions and dispersions, to develop a energetic theory or model of history, in reference, particularly, to its civilization rises and falls.

In 1896, Henry Adams published the 173-page book The Tendency of History, which positioned history in the context of thermodynamics; the title, supposedly culling its theme from Scottish physicist William Thomson's 1852 paper "On a Universal Tendency to the Dissipation of Mechanical Energy". [8]

In 1900, Adams was said to have been "mystified" by the connection made in the operation of the dynamo and the electricity it generated as exhibited at the great Hall of Dynamos. [19]

In 1910, in his Letter to American Teachers of History, Adams' was one of the first to use the term "human molecule" and to use it in a functional sense. One of Adams central goals was to find rules to understand history through the sciences.

In Adams discussions, lectures, and publications, beginning in 1895, on the apparent incompatibilities between the first two laws of thermodynamics, i.e. the law of conservation, "that nothing could be added, and nothing lost, in the sum of energy," and the law of dissipation, "that nothing could be added, but that intensity must be always lost," and the law of evolution, "that vital energy could be added, and raised indefinitely in potential, without the smallest apparent compensation." [1] In other words, Adams seemed to capture the popular view during these years existent between the logic of William Thomson, as found his 1852 paper "On a Universal Tendency in Nature to the Dissipation of Mechanical Energy", which said that natural systems tended to degrade, and the logic of Charles Darwin, in his 1859 Origin of Species, which said that natural systems tended to evolve; an apparent conflict for many, especially in areas such as astrology, geology, biology, botany and most notably for the study of human history.

Henry Adams (1858)
Adams' 1858 Harvard graduation photo.
Education
Adams graduated from Harvard University in 1858. In the years to follow, he toured Europe, during which time he attended lectures in civil law at the University of Berlin. In 1868, Henry Adams returned to the United States and settled down in Washington, D.C., where he started working as a journalist. Adams saw himself as a traditionalist longing for the democratic ideal of the 17th and 18th centuries. Accordingly, he was keen on exposing political corruption in his journalistic pieces. In 1870, Adams was appointed Professor of Medieval History at Harvard, a position he held until his early retirement in 1877 at 39. As an academic historian, Adams is considered to have been the first (in 1874–1876) to conduct historical seminar work in the United States. One of the high moments in Adams' life was his visit to the great Exposition which opened in Paris on April 15th, 1900. In the Galerie des machines, huge equipment was exhibited, such as dynamos and steam engines: power-generating machines. [6]

Self-education
At some point in his career, Adams engaged in a path of self-education for lack of what the modern educational system could not teach him, and much of this was personal research in the physical sciences. This is evidenced in his 1909 letter to English lawyer Charles Gaskell, wherein Adams commented: [12]

“I have been studying science for ten years past, with keen interest, noting down my phrases of mind each year; and every new scientific method I try, shortens my view of the future. The last—thermodynamics—fetches me out on sea-level within ten years. I’m sorry Lord Kelvin is dead. I would travel a few thousand-million miles to discuss with him the thermodynamics of socialistic society. His law is awful in its rigidity and intensity of result.”

This comment comes a year before Adams great work A Letter to American Teachers of History, in which he attempts to outline how thermodynamics, particularly the second law, applies to the historical subject of studying people considered as human molecules.
Henry Adams (standing)The Education of Henry Adams
Left: a circa 1860s/70s photo of Adams. Right: a leather-bound edition of Adams' 1907 The Education of Henry Adams, his most-famous book.

The Education of Henry Adams
Adams’ published his personal thoughts on the matter of his road of self-education in his 1907 The Education of Henry Adams, an introspective extended meditation on the social, technological, political, and intellectual changes that occurred over his lifetime, wherein he concluded that his traditional education failed to help him come to terms with these rapid changes; hence his need for self-education. [18] The organizing thread of the book is how the "proper" schooling and other aspects of his youth, was time wasted; thus his search for self-education through experiences, friendships, and reading.

The book contains end chapters on “A Dynamic Theory of History” (1904) and “A Law of Acceleration” (1904), in the latter of which Adams expounds on what he calls the “dynamic theory” in which human minds act like a system of attracting forces that seek equilibriums, but are constantly induced to accelerate its system motion to establish new equilibriums. [16]

Chapter 31 "The Grammar of Science (1903)" is based on Adams' reading of English polymath Karl Pearson's The Grammar of Science.

Adams’ Education was at first self-published at his own expense, at first circulated among his connected friends, the first copies of which were printed in late 1906 and into 1907, of which an initial forty friends received copies, including: Henry James, senator Henry Cabot Lodge (president of the Massachusetts Historical Society), and Theodore Roosevelt, for comment and correction. Others soon wished for copies and Adams had an additional sixty copies printed and bound. In 1916, Adams explicitly authorized a posthumous edition, of the corrected 1907 edition, in a letter to Lodge, in whom he vested the copyrights, along with a number of specific instructions, namely that Lodge should falsely (or secretly) append his name to the "Preface" that Adams had included and that no illustrations should be included; the book was then commercially published after his death in 1918.
Adams Rule of Phase
A reconstruction of Adams' phase rule of history conception.

Adams' Education won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize; the 1998 Modern Library/New York Times listing of the #1 English language non-fiction book of the 20th century (or #51 according to 200,000 votes of reader’s choice); again listed as the best book of the 20th century by Intercollegiate Review in Fall 1999. [17]

Human history and thermodynamics
In 1909, Adams wrote "The Rule of Phase Applied to History," in which he reformulated a theory of scientific history, based on an analogy to American engineer Willard Gibbs’s "Rule of Phase" (phase rule) from his 1876 "On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances." [5]

In a connected area, in his manuscript The Rule of Phase Applied to History, Adams attempted to use Maxwell’s demon, as an historical metaphor, though he seems to have misunderstood and misapplied the principle. [2] Adams interpreted history as a process moving towards "equilibrium", but he saw militaristic nations (he felt German pre-eminent in this class) as tending to reverse this process, a "Maxwell's demon of history". Adams made many attempts to respond to the criticism of his formulation from his scientific colleagues, but the work remained incomplete at Adams' death in 1918. It was only published posthumously themed or titled on the idea of "degradation". [3]

Bumstead
When Adams sought review with his manuscript “The Rule of Phase Applied to History” or in his own words “annihilation by a competent hand” he was said to have encountered a cold silence. After months of searching he complained to his brother Brooks that he had yet to discover a physicist “who can be trusted to tell me whether my technical terms are all wrong”. James F. Jameson, editor of the American Historical Review, eventually helped Adams find a “critic, a scientific, physic-chemical proof-reader”, who turned out to be American physicist Henry Bumstead, a former student of Gibbs, who wrote a twenty-seven page commentary; the revised version of which appeared only posthumously, specifically in the 1919 Brooks Adams edition of Henry Adams “philosophical writings” in the Degradation of the Democratic Dogma. [21]

A Letter to American Teachers of History
See main: A Letter to American Teachers of History
In 1910, at the age of seventy-two, Adams printed and distributed to university libraries and history professors the small volume A Letter to American Teachers of History proposing a "theory of history" based on the second law of thermodynamics, which seemingly had reign over all branches of science except, apparently, human history. In a way, this was a precursor to Arthur Eddington’s 1928 conception of the entropyarrow of time” in history. [4] In short, he argued that the physics of dynamical systems of Rudolf Clausius, Hermann von Helmholtz, and William Thomson should be applied to the modeling of human history.

Religion
Adams seems to have been reticent in respect to professing any religious belief; if anything, he sees to have been on the concealed irreligious side; a few examples:

“The idea that any personal deity could find pleasure or profit in torturing a poor woman, by accident, with a fiendish cruelty known to man only in perverted and insane temperaments, could not be held for a moment. For pure blasphemy, it made pure atheism a comfort.”
— Henry Adams (1907), The Education of Henry Adams [34]

“Unbroken Evolution under uniform conditions pleased every one -- except curates and bishops; it was the very best substitute for religion; a safe, conservative practical, thoroughly Common-Law deity”
— Henry Adams (1907), The Education of Henry Adams (Ѻ)

“The philosopher says--I am, and the church scouts his philosophy. She answers:--No! you are NOT, you have no existence of your own. You were and are and ever will be only a part of the supreme I AM, of which the church is the emblem.”
— Henry Adams (1884), Esther (Ѻ)

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Adams Memorial
Henry Adams is buried next to his wife Clover Adams, ‘without inscription’, at the Adams memorial, in section E of Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington D.C., erected in 1891 via commission of Adams as memorial to his wife, who had died (dereacted) in 1885 by suicide through the ingestion of potassium cyanide. The seated figure draped in cloth, is a representation of Guan Yin, the bodhisattva (bodhi) of compassion, constructed via the suggestions of Adams, who advised the artist, Irish-born American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), to contemplate iconic images from Buddhist devotional art. (Ѻ)
Reaction end | 1908-1918
In July 1908, at the age (reaction extent) of 70, Adams suffered from an incident of mental paralysis, which on 15 Sep he explained in a letter to Elizabeth Cameron, as follows: [30]

“I have already told you that I got my first warning. With me, as with many other fools and some geniuses, the weak spot is what is known as Brocas convolution of the brain, which contains the shelves of memory. Suddenly or slowly the shelves close and can’t be opened. Mine have been closing normally and slowly, but one day in July I happened to go into Audrain’s place to ask a question, and, to my consternation, my French tumbled out all in a heap. The words came without connection. The man looked at me queerly; I mumbled something, and got out into the street; by the time I got back to my rooms, the paralysis had passed; but I knew quite well what it meant.”

Adams, went on to state that, based on his father’s case, Ralph Emerson, George Bancroft, and Cameron's uncle, that the average time from first incident to termination is about "ten years", and in prognosis of his own condition stated:

“If I can get two more years, without a breakdown, I shall do well enough, but I doubt it. The margin is wide.”

On 27 Nov 1908, Adams executed his last will and testament, indicating his wish to be buried by the side of his wife, enjoining that: (Ѻ)

“No inscription, date, letters, or other memorial, except the monument I have already constructed [shown above], shall be placed over or near our grave.”

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Stroke
On 24 Apr 1912, Adams suffered a “cerebral thrombosis” while dining alone, after which his servant William Gray, quickly summoned medical help. He became partially paralyzed thereafter. On May 8 and May 9, Adams became feverish and irrational, e.g. he attempted to send messages to his friend William Phillips and his mother, both long dead, and he also apparently tried to throw himself out a window. Hallucinations and delirium recurred throughout May. On Jul 3, in a letter to Elizabeth Cameron, Adams reported that he had got a little more control of his right hand and foot. [35] Adams dereacted (died) six years later at his Washington home on 27 Mar 1918.

Criticism
In 1995, American historian John Diggins penned a critique chapter on Adams entitled “Who Bore the Failure of the Light”, in which, among other things he attacks Adams’ scientific views, stating for example: [22]

“On the matter of science, the consensus of conventional wisdom in Adams scholarship regards him as more of a crank than a prophet.”

This statement could not be more backwards. Correctly, in modern physical humanities terms, we now know the reverse to be true: modern hard physical science consensus regards Adams to have been a prophet with great foresight and erudition of both human chemistry and human thermodynamics, being near to par with the genius if Goethe, whose work on human chemical theory Adams read. Adams, in short, was better able to see the forest amid the trees (see also: ships not seen).

Quotes | On
The following are quotes on Adams:

Adams [is the] greatest stylist American historical writing has produced.”
Morris Zucker (1945), The Philosophy of American History: The Historical Field Theory [23]

“There has never been any doubt that the Adams family was America's first family in our politics and memory.”
— Paul Nagel (1999), Descent from Glory: Four Generations of the John Adams Family (Ѻ)

Henry Adams was the preeminent voice of social thermodynamics. “
— Paul Staiti (2001), “Winslow Homer and the Drama of Thermodynamics” (Ѻ)

Quotes | By
See main: Adams quotes
The following are quotes by Adams:

“Everything in this universe has its regular waves and tides. Electricity, sound, the wind, and I believe every part of organic nature will be brought someday within this law. The laws which govern animated beings will be ultimately found to be at bottom the same with those which rule inanimate nature, and as I entertain a profound conviction of the littleness of our kind, and of the curious enormity of creation, I am quite ready to receive with pleasure any basis for a systematic conception of it all. I look for regular tides in the affairs of man, and, of course, in our own affairs. In ever progression, somehow or other, the nations move by the same process which has never been explained but is evident in the oceans and the air. On this theory I should expect at about this time, a turn which would carry us backward.”
— Henry Adams (1863), “Letter to Charles Gaskell” (Oct) [20]

“Altogether, we go on with placidity unequalled, and the only question is what we live for. Nothing seems to come of it?”
— Henry Adams (1878), “Letter to Charles Gaskell” (Aug 21) [29]

Social chemistry—the mutual attraction of equivalent human molecules—is a science yet to be created, for the fact is my daily study and only satisfaction in life.”
— Henry Adams (1885), “Letter to Clover Adams” (Apr 12) [10]

“A period of about twelve years measured the beat of the pendulum. After the Declaration of Independence [4 Jul 1776], twelve years had been needed to create an efficient Constitution [17 Sep 1787]; another twelve years of energy brought a reaction against the government then created; a third period of twelve years was ending in a sweep toward still greater energy; and already a child could calculate the result of a few more such returns.”
— Henry Adams (1890), A History of the United States of America (Ѻ)

“An atom is a man and Maxwell’s demon, who runs the second law, ought to be made president.”
— Henry Adams (1903), “Letter to Brooks Adams”, May 2 [14]

“Gentle mathematicians and physicists still cling to their laws of thermodynamics, and are almost epileptic in their convulsive assurances that they have reached a generalization which will hold good. Perhaps it will. Who cares?”
Henry Adams (1903), “Letter to Charles Gaskell” (Jun 14) [32]

“Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces. The men become every year more and more creatures of force, massed about central power-houses. The conflict is no longer between the men, but between the motors that drive the men, and the men tend to succumb to their own motive forces.”
— Henry Adams (1907), The Education of Henry Adams (Ѻ)

“Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces. The men become every year more and more creatures of force, massed about central power-houses. The conflict is no longer between the men, but between the motors that drive the men, and the men tend to succumb to their own motive forces.”
— Henry Adams (1907), The Education of Henry Adams (Ѻ)

“Any schoolboy could see that man as a force must be measured by motion, from a fixed point.”
— Henry Adams (1907), The Education of Henry Adams (Ѻ)

“A dynamic law requires that two masses—nature and man—must go on, reacting one upon each other, without stop, as the sun and comet react on each other, and that any appearance of stoppage is illusive.”
— Henry Adams (1907), The Education of Henry Adams (Ѻ)

“Education should try to lessen the obstacles, diminish the friction, invigorate the energy, and should train minds to react, not at haphazard, but by choice, on the lines of force that attract their world. What one knows is, in youth, of little moment; they know enough who know how to learn.”
— Henry Adams (1907), The Education of Henry Adams (Ѻ)

“Intimates are predestined.”
— Henry Adams (1907), The Education of Henry Adams (§13: The Perfection of Human Society) (Ѻ)

“On the physico-chemical law of development and dynamics, our society has reached what is called the critical point where it is near a new phase or equilibrium.”
— Henry Adams (1908), “Letter to Charles Gaskell” (Sep 27) [31]

“The solution of mind is certainly in the magnet.”
— Henry Adams (1908), “Letter to Charles Gaskell” (Sep 27) [31]

“I have run my head hard up against a form of mathematics that grinds my brains out. I flounder like a sculpin in the mud. It is called the ‘law of phases’, and was invented at Yale [by Gibbs]. No one shall persuade me that I am not a phase.”
— Henry Adams (1908), “Letter to Elizabeth Cameron” (Sep 29) [28]

“I’m looking for a ‘young and innocent physico-chemist who wants to earn a few dollars by teaching an idiot what is the first element of theory and expression in physics.’”
— Henry Adams (1908), “Note to John Jameson” (Dec) [9]

“My essay ‘The Rule of Phase [Applied to History]’ is a ‘mere intellectual plaything, like a puzzle’ [to Brooks]. I am interested in getting it into the hands of a ‘scientific, physico-chemical proofreader’ and I am willing to pay ‘liberally for the job’ [to Jameson].”
— Henry Adams (1909), Notes to Brooks Adams and John Jameson [9]

“I have been studying science for ten years past, with keen interest, noting down my phrases of mind each year; and every new scientific method I try, shortens my view of the future. The last—thermodynamics—fetches me out on sea-level within ten years. I’m sorry Lord Kelvin is dead. I would travel a few thousand-million miles to discuss with him the thermodynamics of socialistic society. His law is awful in its rigidity and intensity of result.”
— Henry Adams (1909), “Letter to Charles Gaskell” (May 2) [12]
A Letter to American Teachers of History (1910)The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma
Adams' 1910 A Letter to American Teachers of History, wherein he advises history professors to begin to use both human molecular theory and thermodynamics to teach history, and his 1919 The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma, which contains his: The Tendency of History (1894), his 44-page essay "The Phase Rule Applied to History" (1909), in which he identifies Willard Gibbs as the theorist behind the phases of history, and his A Letter to American Teachers of History (1910).

References
1. Adams, Henry. (1910). A Letter to American Teachers of History. Washington.
2. Cater (1947), pgs. 640-647, see also Daub, E.E. (1967). "Atomism and Thermodynamics". Isis 58: 293-303. reprinted in Leff, H.S. & Rex, A.F. (eds) (1990). Maxwell's Demon: Entropy, Information, Computing. Bristol: Adam-Hilger, 37-51.
3. Adams, H. (1919). The Degradation of the Democractic Dogma. (pg. 267). New York: Kessinger.
4. Eddington, Arthur. (1923). The Nature of the Physical World. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press.
5. A Chronology of Henry Adams Life (adapted from the "Chronology" contained in the three-volume Library of America edition of Adams's major works)
6. The Education of Adams (Henry) / Alamo
7. Thayer, William Roscoe. (1921). “Vagaries of Historians”, in Annual Report of the American Historical Association (pg. 82). American Historical Association, Smithsonian Institution Press.
8. Adams, Henry. (1896). The Tendency of History.The MacMillan Co., 1919, 1929.
9. Samuels, Ernest. (1989). Henry Adams (human molecule, pg. 115; physico-chemical, pgs. 401, 411; “Note to John Jameson”, pg. 409). Harvard University Press.
10. (a) Adams, Henry. (1885). “Letter to Marian Adams”, April 12.
(b) Adams, Henry. (1989). The Letters of Henry Adams: 1892-1899, Volume 4 (equivalent human molecules, pg. xxviii). Harvard University Press.
11. Adams, Henry, Hay, John, and King, Clarence. (1880). Democracy, an American Novel (Taine, pg. 9). H. Holt and Co.
12. (a) Adams, Henry. (1909). “Letter to Charles Milnes Gaskell”, May 02.
(b) Adams, Henry, Samuels, Ernest. (1992). Henry Adams, Selected Letters (thermodynamics, pgs. 438, 466, 517). Harvard University Press.
13. Henry Adams photo (studying at desk) – 1883 photo by Marian Hooper Adams, Massachusetts Historical Society.
14. (a) Adams, Henry. (1903). “Letter to Brooks Adams”, May 2
(b) Leff, Harvey S. and Rex, Andrew F. (2002). Maxwell’s Demon: Entropy, Information, Computing (Henry Adams, pgs. 44-46; ref 10, pg. 57). Adam-Hilger.
15. Marian Hooper Adams – Wikipedia.
16. Nordquist, Richard. (2011). “A Law of Acceleration, by Henry Adams”, About.com.
17. (a) The Education of Henry Adams – Wikipedia.
(b) 100 Best Nonfiction – Modern Library.
18. Adams, Henry. (1918). The Education of Henry Adams: an Autobiography. Massachusetts Historical Society.
19. Burich, Keith R. (1996). “Henry Adams and the Rise and Fall of Luminiferous Ether” (pg. 63), Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, pgs. 57-84.
20. (a) Adams, Henry. (1863). “Letter to Charles Gaskell”, Oct.
(b) Adams, Henry. (1982). The Letters of Henry Adams, Volume 1: 1858-1868 (editor: Jacob Levenson) (pgs. 395-96). Harvard University Press.
(c) Stevenson, Elizabeth. (1997). Henry Adams: a Biography (pg. 69). Transaction Publishers.
(d) Taylor, Matthew A. (2008). Universes Without Selves: Cosmologies of the Non-Human in American Literature (pg. 108), PhD dissertation, Johns Hopkins University. ProQuest, 2009.
21. (a) Daub, Edward E. (2003). “Maxwell’s Demon”, in: Maxwell’s Demon 2: Entropy, Classical and Quantum Information, Computing (pgs. 44-). Eds. Harvey S. Leff, Andrew F. Rex. CRC Press.
(b) Leff, Harvey S. and Rex, Andrew F. (2002). Maxwell’s Demon: Entropy, Information, Computing (revised Bumstead version, ref 5, pg. 56). Adam-Hilger.
22. Diggins, John P. (1995). The Promise of Pragmatism: Modernism and the Crisis of Knowledge and Authority (§2: Who Bore the Failure of the Light: Henry Adams, pgs. 55-107; §§: Science and the Fate of the Universe, pgs. 67-80; quote, pg. 84; thermodynamics, 9+ pgs). University of Chicago Press.
23. Zucker, Morris. (1945). The Philosophy of American History: The Historical Field Theory (Adams, pg. 5). Arnold-Howard Publishing Co.
24. (a) Adams, Henry. (date). History of the United States, Volume 9 (pgs. 241-2). Publisher.
(b) Zucker, Morris. (1945). The Philosophy of American History: The Historical Field Theory. Arnold-Howard Publishing Co.
25. Dykstra, Natalie. (2012). Clover Adams: a Gilded and Heartbreaking Life (Ѻ). Publisher.
26. Zencey, Eric. (2012). “Energy as Master Resource” (vid), Fourth Annual Biophysical Economics Conference, University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, Oct 26.
27. Adams, Henry. (1910). “Letter to Barrett Wendell”, May 18, in: Henry Adams, Selected Letters (pgs. 526-28). Harvard University Press, 1992.
28. (a) Adams, Henry. (1908). “Letter to Elizabeth Cameron” (Sep 29), in: Letters of Henry Adams, 1892-1918 (editor: Worthington Ford) (pg. 510). Kraus Reprints, 1969.
(b) Schwehn, Mark R. (1978). The Making of Modern Consciousness in America: the Works and Careers of Henry Adams and William James (pg. 109). Stanford University.
(c) Samuels, Ernest. (1989). Henry Adams (pg. 401). Harvard University Press.
29. (a) Adams, Henry. (1878). “Letter to Charles Gaskell”, Aug.
(b) Adams, Henry. (1992). Henry Adams: Selected Letters (editor: Ernest Samuels) (pg. 150). Harvard University Press.
(c) Eder, Richard. (1992). “Henry Adams: Privileged Kibitzer: Henry Adams: Selected Letters, Edited by Ernest Samuels” (Ѻ), La Times, Mar 08.
30. (a) Adams, Henry. (1908). “Letter to Elizabeth Cameron”, Sep 15.
(b) Adams, Henry. (1992). Henry Adams: Selected Letters (editor: Ernest Samuels) (pg. 503). Harvard University Press.
31. (a) Adams, Henry. (1908). “Letter to Charles Gaskell”, Sep 27.
(b) Adams, Henry. (1992). Henry Adams: Selected Letters (editor: Ernest Samuels) (pg. 504-06). Harvard University Press.
32. (a) Adams, Henry. (1903). “Letter to Charles Gaskell”, Jun 14.
(b) Adams, Henry. (1992). Henry Adams: Selected Letters (editor: Ernest Samuels) (pgs. 437-39). Harvard University Press.
33. Jacobson, Joanne. (1992). Authority and Alliance in the Letters of Henry Adams (pgs. 28-). University of Wisconsin Press.
34.
(a) Adams, Henry. (1907). The Education of Henry Adams (pg. 289). Publisher.
(b) Haught, James A. (1996). 2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt (pg. 189). Prometheus.
35. Adams, Henry. (1982). The Letters of Henry Adams, Volume VI: 1906-1918 (editor: Jacob Levenson) (stroke, pgs. 539-41). Harvard University Press.

Further reading
● Gooch, George P. (1913). History and Historians in the Nineteenth Century (human molecule, pg. 240). Longmans, Green, and Co.
● Adams, Henry. (1918). The Education of Henry Adams (online). Bartleby.com.
● Cater, Harold D. (1947). Henry Adams and His Friends: A Collection of His Unpublished Letters (pgs. 640-47; chemistry, pgs. Ixxxvii, 782). Octagon Books.
● Daub, Edward E. (1967). “Atomism and Thermodynamics”, Isis, 58: 293-303.
● Burich, Keith R. (1987). “Henry Adams, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and the Course of History. Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 48, No. 3 (Jul-Sep.), pp. 467-482.
● Smith, Crosbie and Higginson, Ian. (2001). “Consuming energies: Henry Adams and 'the tyranny of thermodynamics’”, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Vol. 26, No. 2, Feb. pgs 103-111(9).

External links
Henry Adams – Wikipedia.
Adams, Henry (1838-1918) – WorldCat Identities.

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