Adams, John Quincy

Born: 1767-07-11 Braintree, Massachusetts

Died: 1848-02-23 Washington, D.C.

John Quincy Adams was born to former President John Adams and revered First Lady Abigail Adams. Because of his father's diplomatic career, John Quincy spent much of his adolescent and teenage years in Europe and Russia. He returned to Massachusetts in 1785 and earned two degrees from Harvard College. Although he established a law practice, Adams did not engage in the profession for long. He served as minister to the Netherlands from 1794 to 1797, where he met and married Louisa Catherine Johnson. They had three sons together.

Adams then served as minister to Prussia from 1797 to 1801. Following his father's defeat in the Presidential election of 1800, Adams returned to the United States, where he represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate from 1803 to 1808. In 1809 he was appointed minister to Russia, where he served until 1814, and subsequently as envoy to the United Kingdom from 1815 to 1817.

In 1817, newly elected President James Monroe appointed Adams secretary of state, in which position he served throughout Monroe's two terms. Adams ran for president in 1823 against Andrew Jackson and won only after the decision went to the House of Representatives and Henry Clay secured Adams's election. As President, Adams attempted to stimulate economic development by funding internal improvements and reforming tariffs in what Whigs eventually called the "American System." However, the circumstances of his election, characterized as the "corrupt bargain" by Jackson and his Democratic followers, tainted Adams's entire administration.

Following his presidency, Adams won election to the House of Representatives in 1831, where he served until his death in the House Chamber on February 23, 1848. Abraham Lincoln served in the House alongside Adams and was appointed to the committee to arrange publication of the Congressional speeches in memory of Adams.

Token of a Nation’s Sorrow; Harlow G. Unger, John Quincy Adams (Boston: Da Capo Press, 2012); Leonard L. Richards, The Life and Times of Congressman John Quincy Adams (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); Mary W. M. Hargreaves, The Presidency of John Quincy Adams (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1985).