John Quincy Adams

February 20, 2012 by staff 

John Quincy Adams, John Quincy Adams  (July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was the sixth President of the United States (1825-1829). He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative.

He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former President John Adams and Abigail Adams. As a diplomat, Adams played an important role in negotiating many international treaties, most notably the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812. As Secretary of State, he negotiated with the United Kingdom over America’s northern border with Canada, negotiated with Spain the annexation of Florida, and authored the Monroe Doctrine.

Historians agree he was one of the greatest diplomats and secretaries of state in American history.

As president, he sought to modernize the American economy and promoted education. Adams enacted a part of his agenda and paid off much of the national debt. He was stymied by a Congress controlled by his enemies, and his lack of patronage networks helped politicians eager to undercut him.

He lost his 1828 bid for re-election to Andrew Jackson. In doing so, he became the first President since his father to serve a single term.

Adams is best known as a diplomat who shaped America’s foreign policy in line with his ardently nationalist commitment to America’s republican values. More recently Howe (2007) portrayed Adams as the exemplar and moral leader in an era of modernization.

During Adams’ lifetime, technological innovations and new means of communication spread messages of religious revival, social reform, and party politics. Goods, money and people traveled more rapidly and efficiently than ever before.

Adams was elected a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts after leaving office, the only president ever to be so, serving for the last 17 years of his life with far greater success than he had achieved in the presidency. Animated by his growing revulsion against slavery, Adams became a leading opponent of the Slave Power. He correctly predicted that if a civil war were to break out, the president could abolish slavery by using his war powers; Abraham Lincoln did just that with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Adams also predicted the Union’s dissolution over the slavery issue, but said that if the South became independent there would be a series of bloody slave revolts.

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