John Quincy Adams

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John Quincy Adams
JQA Photo.tif
Adams in the 1840s. Photo portrait by Mathew Brady
6th President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
Vice PresidentJohn C. Calhoun
Preceded byJames Monroe
Succeeded byAndrew Jackson
8th United States Secretary of State
In office
September 22, 1817 – March 4, 1825
PresidentJames Monroe
Preceded byJames Monroe
Succeeded byHenry Clay
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
March 4, 1803 – June 8, 1808
Preceded byJonathan Mason
Succeeded byJames Lloyd
Member of the United States
House of Representatives

from Massachusetts
In office
March 4, 1831 – February 23, 1848
Preceded byJoseph Richardson
Succeeded byHorace Mann
Constituency11th district (1831–33)
12th district (1833–43)
8th district (1843–48)
Diplomatic missions
7th United States Minister
to the United Kingdom
In office
June 8, 1815 – May 14, 1817
PresidentJames Madison
James Monroe
Preceded byJonathan Russell (1812)
Succeeded byRichard Rush
3rd United States Minister to Russia
In office
November 5, 1809 – April 28, 1814
PresidentJames Madison
Preceded byWilliam Short
Succeeded byJames A. Bayard
1st United States Minister to Prussia
In office
December 5, 1797 – May 5, 1801
PresidentJohn Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byHenry Wheaton (1835)
5th United States Minister
to the Netherlands
In office
November 6, 1794 – June 20, 1797
PresidentGeorge Washington
John Adams
Preceded byWilliam Short
Succeeded byWilliam Vans Murray
Personal details
Born(1767-07-11)July 11, 1767
Braintree, Massachusetts Bay, British America
DiedFebruary 23, 1848(1848-02-23) (aged 80)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting placeUnited First Parish Church
Political partyFederalist (1792–1808)
National Republican (1828–30)
Anti-Masonic (1830–34)
Whig (1834–48)
Louisa Johnson (m. 1797)
ParentsJohn Adams
Abigail Smith
RelativesSee Adams political family and Quincy political family
EducationHarvard University (BA, MA)
SignatureCursive signature in ink

John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was the sixth President of the United States. He was the first President who was the son of a President.[1] Several cities are named after Adams, such as Quincy, Illinois.

Early life[change | change source]

He was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1767. He watched the Battle of Bunker Hill, a fight of the American Revolutionary War, from his family's farm. When his father, John Adams, traveled to Europe, John Quincy went with him as his secretary. He became good at speaking other languages.

He went to Harvard College and became a lawyer. At age 26 he was appointed Minister to the Netherlands and then he went to Berlin. In 1802 he was elected to the United States Senate. Six years later President James Madison appointed him Minister to Russia.

Adams was Secretary of State when James Monroe was President. He organized joint control of Oregon with England and helped get Florida from Spain. Adams helped make the Monroe Doctrine.

Presidency[change | change source]

Adams was elected president by the United States House of Representatives after the 1824 United States presidential election gave nobody a majority of electoral votes. People who wanted Andrew Jackson to win said there was a deal between Adams and Speaker of the House Henry Clay. Adams made Clay his Secretary of State.

Adams passed law for U.S. improvements as part of what he called the "American System." This means he created roads, canals, and used high tariffs, or taxes on imports and exports. Among his proposals were the creation of a national university,[2] a naval academy,[3] and a national astronomical observatory.[4] Adams fought Congress many times as many supporters of Andrew Jackson did not like his support of a national bank and tariffs.

Adams lost the 1828 election to Jackson. The election was noted for the personal attacks made by the candidates against each other.

1850 Copy of 1843 photograph of John Quincy Adams

Later life[change | change source]

Adams returned to Massachusetts for a short time after he was lost. He returned to Washington D.C. in 1831 after being elected to the United States House of Representatives. He was a leading opponent of slavery. He remained in Congress until his death on February 23, 1848.

John Quincy Adams during his final hours of life after his collapse in the Capitol. Drawing in pencil by Arthur Joseph Stansbury, digitally restored.

References[change | change source]

  1. John Quincy Adams Whitehouse biography
  2. The National University School of Law was not established until 1869
  3. Not established until 1845 during the Polk Administration
  4. A Bill for Observatory was signed by President Adams in 1825; the United States Naval Observatory was formerly established in 1830