A product of Southern aristocracy, Adam is proud of his heritage, even driven to live up to its ideals, as embodied by his father, Governor Stanton. Like Willie, he is committed to doing good for people, A famous surgeon, he works tirelessly, often without pay, to provide the people with excellent health care. He is striving to achieve the same ends as Willie, but their views on how to get things done clash. Adam thinks in terms of honorable traditions; Willie thinks in terms of manipulating people.
Ironically, each man\'s strength is also his fatal weakness. Willie\'s ideal of economic well-being can be accomplished, he believes, only by using bad practices to get good results, at least to get them quickly. And he\'ll do whatever it takes to get Adam as director of his hospital. But he lets Anne and Jack do the dirty work. When Anne confronts Adam with his father\'s role in Judge Irwin\'s scandal, his ideals are shattered. He agrees to direct the hospital. Does he do so as some kind of atonement (payment) for his father\'s sin? Does the revelation weaken his resistance to being employed by a corrupt politician? Or has he all along wanted to have the power, as well as the vast opportunity to do good, that the directorship brings?