John Quincy Adams Biography
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John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767–February 23, 1848) was the sixth
(1825-1829) President of the United States. He was the son of
President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Smith. He is the first
President whose father was also President. The second father-son
duo presidencies were President George H.W. Bush and George W.
John Quincy Adams was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, (in a
part of town which is now Quincy, Massachusetts), and acquired
his early education in Europe at the University of Leiden. He
graduated from Harvard University in 1787. He studied law, then
was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Boston, Massachusetts.
He was appointed Minister to the Netherlands in 1794, Minister
to Portugal in 1796 and Minister to Prussia in 1797.
He was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in 1802, and
was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the U.S. House of
Representatives in the same year. He was elected as a Federalist
to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1803, until
June 8, 1808, when he resigned, a successor having been elected
six months early after Adams broke with the Federalist party.
He was Minister to Russia from 1809 to 1814, a member of the
commission which negotiated the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, and Minister
to England from 1815 to 1817.
He was Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President James Monroe
from 1817 to 1825. As Secretary of State, he negotiated the Adams-Onís
Treaty and helped develop the Monroe Doctrine.
Adams received one electoral vote in the presidential election
of 1820. President James Monroe ran virtually unopposed for re-election,
but one elector cast his ballot for Adams, allegedly to ensure
that George Washington remained the only American president unanimously
chosen by the electoral college.
Election to Presidency
Although Adams lost in both the popular and electoral votes in
the Presidential election of 1824, none of the candidates were
able to secure a majority of the electoral vote, thereby putting
the outcome in the hands of the House of Representatives, which
to the surprise of many elected Adams over rival Andrew Jackson.
Adams served as President from March 4, 1825 to March 4, 1829.
During this time he worked on developing a federal system of roads,
canals, bridges, lighthouses, and universities until Jackson,
who defeated Adams in the latter's quest for re-election, was
sworn in to replace him.
Rather than retire, Adams would go on to win election as a Democratic-Republican
to the House of Representatives beginning with the 22nd Congress,
serving from March 4, 1831, until his death. He was chairman of
the Committee on Manufactures (for the 22nd through 26th, 28th
and 29th Congresses, respectively), the Committee on Indian Affairs
(for the 27th Congress) and the Committee on Foreign Affairs (also
for the 27th Congress).
He was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Massachusetts
in 1834. In 1841, Adams represented the Amistad Africans in the
Supreme Court of the United States and successfully argued that
the Africans, who had seized control of a Spanish ship where they
were being held as illegal slaves, should not be returned to Spain,
but returned home as free people. Adam's son Charles Francis also
pursued a career in politics.
Adams died of a stroke in the Capitol Building, Washington, D.C..
His interment was in the family burial ground at Quincy, Massachusetts
and subsequently reinterred in the United First Parish Church.
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