Short Biography of John Quincy Adams
Known for his antislavery viewpoints and one who attempted to push the modernization through infrastructure, John Quincy Adams served as the President of the United States from 1825 to 1829. At first, he was a Federalist, but following his presidency, he became a National Republican. Most of his fame and views were established by serving abroad for several years as a diplomat and ambassador for the States.
John Quincy was born in Braintree, which would later change its name to Quincy in his honor. Located on the outskirts of town is the Adams National Historic Park. His father was a diplomat in France so young John Quincy grew up abroad. When Adams returned to the States, he was ready for college, attended Harvard, became a lawyer, and began practicing law in Boston.
When George Washington became President, he appointed John Quincy to work as an attaché for the U.S. in the Netherlands – a place where he had spent time with his father. He also served as a minister to Russia, and lived in Britain working for the St. James Court for two years.
John Quincy Adams ran for president and actually lost the electoral and popular vote. The House of Representatives were forced to choose a president and with the help of Henry Clay by dropping out of the presidential race, John Adams won. Adams then appointed Clay as Secretary of State. The whole affair was seen as corrupt on many levels.
Due to the controversy behind his presidency, Congress rejected nearly every new bill he brought to the floor. He called his idea the American System, where canals, roads and expansion were at the forefront of his model. With his experiences abroad, John Quincy Adams had an impressive international agenda. For this, he is often believed to be the best diplomat in U.S. history.
Following his subsequent defeat by Andrew Jackson in the elections of 1828, Adams didn’t halt his political career. Instead, he became a member of the House of Representatives and represented Congress on many committees, namely the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Indian Affairs. In one of the most historically thrilling international episodes, John Quincy Adams fought for the rights in a Supreme Court hearing of the Amistad, where African slaves took over a Spanish ship on which they were being illegally forced to work. He fought for their release and said they should be returned home. The ordeal inspired books and a recent biography of John Quincy Adam’s time in a movie called Amistad.