John Quincy Adams
Essay Preview: John Quincy Adams
Report this essay
John Quincy Adams (1787-1848)
John Quincy Adams was born on July 1767, in Braintree Massachusetts. His parents were John and Abigail Adams. His mother came from prominent families, the Nortons and the Quincys, and his father was a prospering lawyer at the time of Quincys birth, which allowed for him to have every advantage as a youngster. When he wasnt accompanying his father on diplomatic trips to Europe he was receiving the best education at private schools in Paris, Leiden, and Amsterdam. By the time he entered Harvard in 1785, he was proficient in Greek, Latin, French, Dutch, and German. At the age of fourteen, he was asked to serve as secretary and translator to Francis Dana, U.S. ambassador to Russia. Despite his age he was considered a great asset due to his enthusiasm for new cultures and his immediate interest in politics. He graduated in two years from Harvard and went on to study law. Passing his bar exam in 1790 he began to practice in law in Boston. Always more interested in politics over law Adams wrote and published several political essays. In 1794 John Quincys long political career began with George Washington appointing him to be the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. He kept this post for the remainder of Washingtons presidency and was reassigned to serve as the minister of Prussia when his father was elected as president in 1797. He was sent to London in connection with Jays Treaty, where he met Louisa Catherine Johnson, the daughter of the American consul, and married her on July 26, 1797.
He returned home after his fathers term and two years later he was elected to the Massachusetts Senate. He joined the senate as a Federalist but he pursued an independent route. The Federalist Party forced him to resign because of his support for Jeffersons embargo against Great Britain. In 1809 President James Madison appointed him to minister to Russia. While in Europe he gained a reputable name for serving his country. He played a large role in the peace negotiations between Britain and the U.S. after the war of 1812 as the chief American peace commissioner in Ghent. He continued to distinguish himself by negotiating a treaty with Spain. The Adams-Onis Treaty with Spain transferred
East and West Florida to the United States and the establishment of a border between Spanish and U.S. territory running from the Gulf of Mexico to the Rocky Mountains and along the forty-second parallel all the way to the Pacific.
In March 1817 President James Monroe appointed Adams as secretary of state. Adams, who was then 50, was not a good-looking figure. He was short, plump, and bald; his best feature was his penetrating black eyes. Nevertheless he is known as one of the most able to have ever held the position of U.S. secretary of state. Adams and Monroe worked together with great synchronization and understanding, because they were in complete agreement on the basic objectives of American foreign policy. They wanted to expand the territorial limits of the nation and to persuade the other powers to treat the United States as an equal. Monroe closely controlled foreign affairs, but he relied heavily on Adams, who proved to be a sharp adviser, a skillful negotiator, and a talented writer. Adams was also the chief author behind the Monroe Doctrine, which warned that the United States would oppose any European interference in the internal affairs of an American nation or further European colonization of territory in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1824 the Presidential candidates were William Crawford of Georgia, Andrew Jackson of Tennessee Henry Clay of Kentucky and John Quincy Adams. The four candidate race split the electoral votes. In the election of 1824 no one received the majority required to be elected. Jackson led Adams 99 to 84 votes, with Crawford and Clay each receiving 41 and 37 votes, respectively. The stalemate drew the election into the House of Representatives. There Henry Clay, a powerful member of the House, gave his support to Adams, who emerged victorious despite having received less than a third of the popular vote. Although Jackson and his supporters were irate over the results, there was nothing they could do. John Quincy Adams was elected as the United States sixth president after the skewed election of 1824.
Adamss following appointment of Clay as secretary of state raised a cry of “corrupt