- NAME: John Quincy Adams
- OCCUPATION: Lawyer, Diplomat, U.S. President, U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: July 11, 1767
- DEATH DATE: February 23, 1848
- EDUCATION: University of Leiden
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Braintree, Massachusetts
- PLACE OF DEATH: Washington, D.C.
- Full Name: John Quincy Adams
- Nickname: "Old Man Eloquent"
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John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States. He was also the eldest son of President John Adams, the second U.S. president.
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Born on July 11, 1767, John Quincy Adams was the eldest son of President John Adams and the sixth president of the United States. In his pre-presidential years, Adams was one of America's greatest diplomats (formulating, among other things, what became the Monroe Doctrine); in his post-presidential years, he conducted a consistent and often dramatic fight against the expansion of slavery. Though full of promise,
"You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
"America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy."
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
his presidential years were difficult. He died in 1848 in Washington, D.C.
Though he was one of few Americans to be so prepared to serve as president of the United States, John Quincy Adams's best years of service came before and after his time in the White House. Born on July 11, 1767, in Braintree, Massachusetts, John Quincy was the son of John Adams, a prodigy of the American Revolution who would become the second U.S. president just before his John Quincy's 30th birthday, and his wife, future first lady Abigail Adams.
As a child, John Quincy Adams witnessed firsthand the birth of the nation. From the family farm, he and his mother watched the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. At age 10, he traveled to France with his father, who was securing aid during the Revolution. By age 14, John Quincy was receiving "on-the-job" training in the diplomatic corps and going to school. In 1781, he accompanied diplomat Francis Dana to Russia, serving as his secretary and translator. In 1783, he traveled to Paris to serve as secretary to his father, negotiating the Treaty of Paris. During this time, John Quincy attended schools in Europe and became fluent in French, Dutch and German. Returning home in 1785, he entered Harvard College and graduated in 1787.
In 1790, John Quincy became a practicing attorney in Boston. As tensions mounted between Britain and France, he supported President George Washington's neutrality policy of 1793. President Washington appreciated young Adams's support so much that he appointed him U.S. minister to Holland. When John Adams was elected president in 1797, he appointed his son U.S. minister to Prussia. On the way to his post, John Quincy traveled to England to wed Louisa Catherine Johnson, the daughter of Joshua Johnson, the first U.S. consul to Great Britain.
After John Adams lost his bid for a second term in 1800, he recalled his son from Prussia. In 1802, John Quincy was elected to the Massachusetts legislature, and one year later, he was elected the U.S. Senate. Like his father, John Quincy was considered a member of the Federalist Party, but in truth, he was never a strict party man. During his time in the Senate, he supported the Louisiana Purchase and President Thomas Jefferson's Embargo Act—actions that made him very unpopular with other Federalists. In June 1808, Adams broke with the Federalists, resigned from his Senate seat and became a Democratic-Republican.
John Quincy Adams returned to the diplomatic corps in 1809, when President James Madison appointed him the first officially recognized minister to Russia (Francis Dana was never officially accepted as a U.S. ambassador by the Russian government). In 1814, Adams was recalled from Russia to serve as chief negotiator for the U.S. government during the Treaty of Ghent, settling the War of 1812. The following year, Adams served as minister to England, a position his father had held 30 years earlier.
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The first U.S. president, former military leader George Washington, took his oath of office on April 30, 1789, on the balcony of Federal Hall. From that moment onward, the United States' highest office has been filled regularly by elected officials who aim to serve the people under the guidance of the U.S. Constitution. Learn more about the 43 men who have served as America's chief executive.
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