John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams
6th United States President
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In office Mar. 4, 1825 – Mar. 4, 1829
V. President John Calhoun
Political Party Whig
 
Personal Info
Born July 11, 1767
Died Feb. 23, 1848 (at age 80)
Religion Unitarianism
School Harvard University
Profession Lawyer
Signature
Wife Louisa Johnson
Children Louisa Adams, George Washington Adams, John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, Sr.
U.S. Presidents 1-15
1. George Washington (1789–1797)
2. John Adams (1797-1801)
3. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
4. James Madison (1809-1817)
5. James Monroe (1817-1825)
6. John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)
7. Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
8. Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)
9. William Henry Harrison (1841-1841)
10. John Tyler (1841-1845)
11. James Knox Polk (1845-1849)
12. Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)
13. Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)
14. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)
15. James Buchanan (1857-1861)
List of All the Presidents

John Quincy Adams, nicknamed “Old Man Eloquent” is the sixth President of the United States. Among the presidents, he was the first one to have a former US president as his father. John Quincy was the son of John Adams, the second President of the United States, and Abigail Adams. As such, he had been brought up for a life of public service. And he had served the country, not only as a president, but also as a member of the Senate and as a member of the House of Representatives.

John Quincy had a brilliant mind, but his personality was a bit deficient. This caused him the reelection bid for presidency in the 1828 US presidential elections. Like his father, he served only one term. He was often described as aloof and lacking of personal warmth. He was also very independent and failed to get the support he needed in Washington. Throughout his short lived presidency, John Quincy faced opposition from the Democrats.

Adams Childhood, Life, and Education

John Quincy Adams was born on July 11, 1767 in Braintree (now known as Quincy), Massachusetts. As a young boy, he had been touched by war as watched the Battle of Bunker Hill on top of his family farm. When he was ten years old, his father was sent as a special envoy to Europe and young John Quincy accompanied him. This introduced John Quincy to the courts of Europe and the ways of democracy.

For seven and a half years, he traveled and lived all over Europe. He stayed in London, Amsterdam, Paris and St. Petersburg. Throughout his travels, John Quincy came to speak fluently in French as well as Dutch, and he also became familiar with other European languages such as German. He studied for about a year in the famous Leiden University.

His education was interrupted, however, when he heard that the American diplomat, Francis Dana was looking for an interpreter to accompany him to Russia. John Quincy, who knew Russian, volunteered. He became Dana’s secretary as well as translator. Dana was an emissary to St. Petersburg, and John Quincy accompanied him for almost three years. After that, he then returned to his father in Holland, and he worked as his secretary.

John Quincy returned to America in 1785 and entered Harvard University to complete his education. He graduated after two years and in the summer of 179e, he was admitted to the bar and started practicing law in Boston.

John Quincy Adams’ Early Political Career

John Quincy Adams worked as a Boston lawyer from the year 1790 to 1794. He didn’t have much success with this job, even though his father was then the vice president of the country. Having only a few clients, and time on his hands, John Quincy wrote articles which supported the current Washington administration. He would also debate the issues of the day with his fellow lawyers.

Grateful for his support and knowing of his fluency of the Dutch Language, President George Washington appointed John Quincy as Minister to the Netherlands in 1794. Adams was only 26 years old at that time but he handled his position very well. He managed to get the Dutch to repay their loans to the United States.

When John Quincy’s father, John Adams became the president, he appointed his son as a Minister to Prussia. This was actually due to Washington’s urging. He kept this post for the remainder of his father’s term as president.

Political Life Before Presidency

Shortly after his return home, John Quincy was elected as a Massachusetts State Senate. He was later elected by Federalist state legislature as a Federalist to the United States Senate, where he served from 1803 until 1808.

As a senator, he supported some of the Republican measures which included Thomas Jefferson’s Embargo Act and also the Louisiana Purchase. He was the only Federalist in both houses to actually support the Louisiana Purchase. This independence in his support made him unpopular, especially to Federalists.

The Massachusetts legislature called a special session in 1807 because they wanted to remove John Quincy a year earlier before the end of his term. He then resigned and changed sides, becoming a Democrat-Republican.

Despite his stressful life in the senate, John Quincy found some satisfaction in his position as a Rhetoric and Oratory professor at Harvard University. He taught there from 1805 until 1809.

After losing his seat in the Senate, He was appointed by the new President, James Madison, as the United States Minister to Russia in 1809. He was the first to ever hold this position. In 1814, he was called back to act as the chief negotiator for the Treaty of Ghent. This treaty eventually ended the War of 1812. Later, he was sent to the English court filling up a position that his father had first held.

When he came home, he became the secretary of State under President Madison. He was active in his tenure and negotiated a lot of treaties. He was quite instrumental in the acquisition of Florida, then a territory of Spain. He negotiated the Adams-Onis treaty between Spain and the United States. He also wrote the Monroe Doctrine which informed European countries not to try to interfere or colonize the Americas.

The 1824-1825 Presidential Elections

In the 1824 presidential elections, four ran for the position. They were John Quincy Adams, William H. Crawford, Henry Clay, and Andrew Jackson. During the Election Day, Jackson won plurality but not necessarily the majority of votes. The election then was given to the hands of the House of Representatives. Clay got the least votes became ineligible for the presidency, gave his support to Adams and so John Quincy Adams won the presidency.

Adams later appointed Clay as Secretary of State causing the other candidates, Jackson and his political followers especially to think there had been a “corrupt bargain”. This started the bitter rivalry between Adams and Jackson, with Jackson vowing to take the presidency on the next elections.

The Presidency of John Quincy

John Quincy was not a political player. He as very independent and did not give much attention to gaining political allies. He made no actions against people who went to join the opposition, refusing to terminate them as he believed that people holding office should be based on capabilities and not political views. This and his sometimes aloof personality made him unpopular and gave Andrew Jackson an edge in winning the following elections.

John Quincy supported the “American System” which was first proposed by Henry Clay. Adams hoped for American prosperity, proposing a national market where both the North and the South would participate in the trade. He also wanted progress, proposing the construction of educational institutions, the building of roads, canals. But Adams lacked the support of congress and so many of his proposals would not become reality.

In the 1828 elections, Andrew Jackson, true to his word got a clear victory for the presidency and John Quincy Adams became the second president, after his father, to serve only a single term.

Life after His Presidency

John Quincy was asked by his Massachusetts neighbors to run for Congress. He agreed on two conditions: one is that he would always follow his conscience and the other is that he would not solicit their votes. He was elected and served 9 consecutive terms. He seemed to be, not only more popular, but maws gained more acclaim as a representative than he had been as a president of the United States.

One of his most noted mission during his congressional career was to be an anti-slavery advocate. Be fought the “gag rule” which states that anti-slavery petitions should not be heard. Adams would use any opportunity he sees to read the numerous petitions sent to him by abolitionists. The House finally repealed the “gag rule” in 1844. As one of the greatest speakers of the House, Adams came to be known as “Old Man Eloquent”.

Before the Supreme Court, Adams had successfully argued the case of 53 slaves who mutinied against their Spanish captors aboard the ship named Amistad. The Supreme Court ruled that the slaves were free men.

Also as a man who is devoted to education, John Quincy was very influential in the bequest of an Englishman named James Smithson who wanted the US to create an institution that would be dedicated to knowledge. Smithson willed the US $500,000. The institution was built and was later called the Smithsonian Institute.

John Quincy and his Family

John Quincy Adams is the only president to wed a foreign-born wife. He met Louisa Catherine Johnson, daughter of an American merchant who was married to an English woman. They met as children (Louisa was only four years old) in France, and years later, they met again with Louisa as a young woman of 22.

John Quincy’s father initially objected to their relationship, as he saw his son as a future president of the country and having a foreign-born wife might not be wise. Still, the two married on July 26, 1797. Together they had 3 sons and one daughter who died one year after she was born. Their Children’s names were George Washington Adams, John Adams II, Charles Francis Adams, and Louisa Catherine Adams.

Death of the Old Man Eloquent

On February 21, 1848, John Quincy suffered a massive stroke and collapsed on the floor of the House. Two days later, he died and the nation mourned one of the most intelligent men to ever step into the White House. John Quincy now lies buried beside his parents and his wife.

5 Responses to “John Quincy Adams”

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  3. Kaylin says:

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  4. tj says says:

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