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John Quincyc Adams's Biography

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Starting with the early life of John Quincy Adams he was Born on July 11, 1767, in the city of Braintree (which is now called Quincy), Massachusetts, and was the second child and first son of John and Abigail Adams. As a young boy, John Quincy was a witness of the battle of bunker hill. When he was ten he went with his father on a diplomatic mission to France. Later he studied at several European universities becoming fluent in seven languages. Adams returned to Massachusetts in 1785 and went to Harvard College, graduating two years later. He then studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1790, after which he set up a law firm in Boston.

As a young lawyer, Adams wrote articles protecting the neutrality policy of George Washington’s presidential administration talking about the war between France and Britain in 1793. In 1794, Washington appointed him as a U.S. minister to the Netherlands. After his father John Adams was elected president in 1796, he made his son minister to Prussia (now Germany). Before going to Berlin, Adams married Louisa Catherine Johnson, whom he met in London (she was the daughter of the American ambassador there). sadly, the couple would suffer the loss of three children–a daughter in infancy and two sons in adulthood some sources reported it to be a largely unhappy match.

After John Adams lost the presidency to Thomas Jefferson in 1800, he recalled John Quincy from; When the younger Adams returned to Boston in 1801 he reopened his law practice. The following year he was accepted to the Massachusetts State Senate, and in 1903 the state legislature chose him to serve in the U.S. Senate. Though Adams, like his father, was thought to be a member of the Federalist party, on one occasion he voted against the Federalist Party line on several issues, including Jefferson’s unlucky Embargo Act of 1807, which greatly threatened the interests of New England merchants. He soon became alienated from the Federalists – then led by Alexander Hamilton, a political opponent of his father’s – and came to detest party politics. Adams gave up his Senate position in June 1808 and went back to Harvard, where he got a job as a professor.

In 1809, President James Madison called Adams to come back into diplomatic service, appointing him ambassador to the Russian court of Czar Alexander I. While in St. Petersburg, Adams witnessed Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and later the removal of the French army after that great attack. Meanwhile, the war had broken out between the United States and Britain (now known as the war of 1812), and in 1814 James Madison called Adams to Belgium to arrange the Treaty of Ghent, which put an end to the War of 1812. John Quincy Adams then began serving (following his father’s footsteps) as U.S. minister to Great Britain; his son, Charles Francis Adams, would go on to have the same position during the Civil War.

In 1817, President Monroe hired Adams as his secretary of state, as part of his attempts to build a cabinet with balanced sections. Adams earned many diplomatic accomplishments in this position, including discussing the joint occupation of Oregon with England and obtaining Florida from Spain. He also had another position as the chief architect of what is now known as the Monroe Doctrine (1823), which was an attempt to prevent further European attacks or invasion in Latin America by declaring U.S. defense over the entire Western Hemisphere.

In 1824, Adams joined a five-way competition for the presidency with two other members of Monroe’s cabinet, and most of New York and a few districts elsewhere were for Adams, but lost to Andrew Jackson (who was with Pennsylvania, the Carolinas and most of the West) in both the electoral and popular votes. For the first time in U.S. history, however, no candidate received most of the electoral votes, and the election was determined by the House of Representatives. Jackson’s advocates raged against this “corrupt deal,” and Andrew Jackson himself resigned from the Senate; he would again join the race for the presidency (successfully) in 1828.

With his new role as president, Adams dealt with solid hostility from the Jacksonians in Congress, which possibly explained his generally few substantive achievements while in the White House. He suggested a progressive national program, that included federal funding of an interstate system of roads and the assembly of a national university. Reporters, especially Jackson’s advocates, insisted that such advancements overreached federal authority limits according to the Constitution. The Erie Canal was finalized while Adams was in office, connecting the Great Lakes to East Coast and enabling a flow of products such as grain to Eastern markets. Adams also looked to provide Native Americans with land in the Western side of the U.S., but like many of his plans, this failed to find votes in Congress.

Up for election again in 1828, Adams was hurt by assertions of corruption and judgment of his domestic program, among other problems; he lost severely to Jackson, who attained most of the southern and western votes. he became only the second president in U.S. history to fail to win a second term; the first had been his own father, in 1800. He retired to private life in Massachusetts only briefly, winning election to the House of Representatives in 1830. He served as a leading congressman for the rest of his life, earning the nickname “Old Man Eloquent” for his passionate support of freedom of speech and universal education, and especially for his strong arguments against slavery, the “peculiar institution” that would tear the nation apart only decades later. After suffering two strokes, Adams died in 1848, at the age of 80.

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