A very desirable first edition of John Adams' influential work on a constitutional separation of powers; a work which proved central to the multi-branch structure proposed in the Constitution of the United States of America. A cornerstone piece of Americana.
Adams, John. A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America. London. C. Dilly. 1787.
As America began emerging from the rubble of the Revolution, John Adams was acting as America's minister in Great Britain. Even with the Revolution ended, he wrote that he still "felt an urgency like that of 1776. Great events were taking place at home . . . A constitutional convention was in the offing, and as he had been impelled in 1776 to write his Thoughts on Government, so Adams plunged ahead now, books piled about him, his pen scratching away until all hours . . . [and] By early January 1787, Adams had rushed the first installment of his effort to a London printer. Titled A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America . . . copies were sent off at once to the United States and to Jefferson in Paris" (McCullough, 374). On its receipt, Jefferson replied, "I have read your book with infinite satisfaction and improvement. It will do great good in America. Its learning and its good sense will, I hope, make it an institute for our politicians, old as well as young" (Sowerby, 3004). "Adams' Defence was an expanded, more erudite rendition of the case for checks and balances in government that he had championed in his Thoughts on Government (1776) . . . The people of America now had 'the best opportunity and the greatest trust in their hands' that Providence ever ordained to so small a number since Adam and Eve" (McCullough, 75).
Reprints appeared later in the same year in New York and Philadelphia (See Evans 20176, 20177). The following year Adams wrote a second and third volume, and the three volumes were re-issued in London in 1788 under a slightly expanded title. Howes A60. Sabin 233.
Textually very good, clean and crisp with period inscription at the head of the title, "Th. Phipson." Original boards, over-bound on spine and corners. Charming. Front hinge breached but holding. Offered in current state at the price below. We are also happy to facilitate having it respined and beautifully consolidated by our conservator.
Bauman Rare Books, one of the finest purveyors of Americana in the country, has a copy of the identical edition on offer at $14,000.00. Our example textually cleaner.