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John Quincy Adams, son of President John Adams, was the sixth president of the United States and the only president who served the office just like his father. He was a man who made an impact on the world and the United States. John Quincy lived above personal greed and always made sure that the country’s interest rose above personal interests. He always cared about the nation as a whole rather than the social classes (Unger, p. 5-6). Every decision President Quincy made was for the betterment of United States. He was a patriot and followed the footsteps of his late father. John Quincy Adams was a man of many titles, and each was honored with good work. In every office that he served, he left a trail of good praise and a good job. Apart from the presidential title, he was also a diplomat, a secretary of state, a senator and a great congressman.
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John Quincy Adams was a great role model, had great character as a leader and also a person, and he made a great impact in the United States. As a leader, he was a hard worker, intelligent, patriotic, independent-minded, eloquent speaker and humane (Unger, p. 6). These qualities saw him be recognized as a great diplomat and a great secretary of state. As a president, his views were always benevolent, and this was a rare fact for the major party politicians, but it did not scare him. He always ensured that he kept the national objectives before his. He was a selfless leader who always worked to uphold humanity and when he finally had a way to fight slavery he did wholeheartedly. His independent-minded nature was a great asset because he did not follow the rules of politics but he always worked with what he thought was best for the United States. As much as he faced opposition he still stood his ground on what he was to do. His intelligent thinking always brought the best out of every situation the United States faced, and a good example is the Ghent treaty (Unger, p. 16).
As a president, John Quincy Adams met a lot of opposition from his enemies. Never the less he still managed to do some good works. As a president, he sought to modernize the American economy by supporting high tariffs to protect American industries and the federal government and maintaining high public land prices to generate federal revenue promote education and also supported infrastructural improvements. He proposed federal projects like ports, roads and canal building, a national university and a national bank that would be used to foster commerce. He also recommended federal support for the arts and sciences, but he received a lot of opposition from supporters of Andrew Jackson (Unger, p. 18). Even so, he managed to pay off most of United States national debts. He reduced it from sixteen million dollars to five million dollars. The reduction of state debts was a significant achievement during his tenure in office. He ushered in a new era of modernization in America and helped shape its foreign policy that safeguarded the country’s nationalist republican values. . Goods, money and people traveled more rapidly and efficiently like never before. Through him, technological innovations and new means of communication spread messages of religious revival, social reforms, and party politics. Unfortunately, his bid to run for another term did not pay off and after his presidency years (Unger, p. 22). His passion for public service still continued even after his presidential term ended. He ran for and won a seat in the United States House of Representatives in the 1830 elections. Quincy’s win went against the general opinion that former President should not run for public office. He was the first person to serve in Congress after being a president and he remains one of the only two former presidents to do so. In Congress, he was the chair of the committee on commerce and manufactures, the committee of Indian Affairs and the committee on foreign affairs.
While in Congress, he used his position to fight slavery. Something that was inhumane and obnoxious to him. A gag rule was voted so as to prevent him from tabling the slavery petition but he still did. His request angered his congressional enemies, and they tried to censure him but did not manage to do so. In 1841, he was invited by Lewis Tappan and Ellis Gray to join the case of United States versus the Amistad. Adams went before the Supreme Court and argued for an hour in favor of the Amistad. His argument stated that the Africans who seized control of a Spanish ship on which they were transported illegally as slaves should not be extradited or deported to Cuba but should be considered free (Unger, p. 62). The African captives were from Sierra Leone, and they were illegally sold into slavery. They escaped their shackles and took over the ship. They killed the captain and the cook. Some crew members managed to escape, and the Africans forced the remaining crew to take them back to their homes. This did not happen because the team tricked them and sailed North at night. The Amistad was later apprehended near Long Island, New York. At the end of it, all his argument succeeded, and the court ruled for the Africans who were declared free and could return home to their families or stay in the United States. He never billed for his services. The speech he made was not only for the Supreme Court but also for the national audience. He instructed on the evils of slavery (Unger, p. 64). The only reason he made slavery his personal fight is because of his humane character. Slavery was wrong, and it disrespected the very essence of humanity. This act showed his brevity, his courage, and his independent-minded nature. Characters that every leader should possess in order to be great. This made him a great role model for political generations after him. He was named in the most courageous figures in America history, and he was ranked number one in John F. Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Profiles in Courage.
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As a secretary of state, John Quincy Adams made a great impact while he worked under James Monroe. He played a key role in determining the president’s foreign policy including the famous Monroe Doctrine. It stated that attempts by European powers to colonize parts of the western hemisphere near the United States were threats to the United States and would be treated as such. He helped secure the nation’s boarder boundaries and new territories and also set strict policies regarding territorial expansion. This doctrine also noted that the United States would not interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries (Unger, p. 33). He negotiated with Britain over the United States’ northern border with Canada and also negotiated the Florida treaty which resulted in the annexation of Florida. Each and everything he accomplished while in public service was as a result of his character as a leader and as a person. He pulled off all the above with his hard work, intelligence and patriotism. These strong characters in leadership should be desired.
As a foreign diplomat, John Quincy Adams was able to put together, formulate and practice the fundamentals of American foreign policy which included self-determination, independence, non-colonization, nonintervention, and non-entanglement in European politics, freedom of the seas and freedom of commerce. In 1814, John Quincy Adams negotiated the Ghent treaty for the sake of peace. This led to the end of the war between the United States of America and the United Kingdom that started in the year 1812 (Unger, p. 69). The treaty restored the relations between the two nations to status quo ante-Bellum, restoring the borders of the two countries to the lines before the war started.
Summarily, as a leader, John Quincy Adams had a phrase that a great leader’s positive actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. Just like his father, he also valued this philosophy and always strived to do right by it. He always wanted more from himself and for the United States, and that is why even after his presidential term he did not quit the public office, but he won and joined Congress where he made a significant impact following the slave war he fought and won in the Supreme Court. Everything he did he made sure it was his best, and he inspired his fellow leaders to do the same. He always understood that authority is nothing compared to inspiration. From being the most powerful man in the United States to serving under subsequent presidents shows that he had a passion for serving the public to make the United States a better place. His humility and selflessness in service were extraordinary. Every leader should be inspired to follow in his footsteps and also to serve in a wholehearted manner. By doing so, this will bring up a generation of politicians who are effective and efficient in office and who are willing to put the needs of the nation before their own.
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