John Quincy Adams was born in 1767 in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts, and was the second child of two children. He was the sixth president of the United States, and devoted his life to serving the people. Of the 81 years he lived, 50 were spent in public office. His service ended only with his death at the U. S. Capitol in Washington, D. C. Adams career of public service was one of the most varied in the colonies. He served as a diplomat, senator, secretary of state, president, and, for the last 17 years of his life, member of the House of Representatives.
During the war of 1763 between France and Great Britain, some Americans followed Thomas Jefferson and urged support of France, but members of the Federalist (anti-Jefferson) party wanted an alliance between the U. S. and Great Britain. President Washington did not listen to either side and stated that America be neutral and not choose sides. As news of the presidents ideas spread, more of the citizens began to support Washington less. Though the president was harshly seen, an anonymous author, using the pen name Publicola, published a series of articles in a Boston newspaper that was read throughout the nation.
The articles sided with Washingtons views and soon everyone began to agree with Washingtons ideas. Soon, president Washington found out that Publicola was actually John Quincy Adams. Thus, Adams was appointed as diplomatic representative to the Netherlands. While serving in the Netherlands, Adams married Louisa Catherine Johnson and had 3 sons with her. The year after his father was defeated for reelection in 1800, John Quincy returned to Boston to practice law. In 1802, the Federalist Party leaders in Massachusetts helped him become elected to senate because of his past diplomatic records.Order now
Shortly afterward, in 1803, the Federalists in the state legislature elected him senator of Massachusetts. He disagreed heavily with the other senators in many issues such as the purchase of Louisiana and the passing of the Embargo Act. Later in 1808, several months before his term was up, the Massachusetts legislature elected another senator to replace him so Adams resigned. He then resumed his diplomatic career in 1809 when President James Madison appointed him U. S. diplomatic representative to Russia.
Adams became an important asset to foreign relations, as Russia was the only European outlet for trade at that time. In 1817, John was called back to the U. S. to become secretary of state in the cabinet of James Monroe. It became a difficult time for him because Spain was having conflicts in Florida. Many hostile groups such as the Seminole Indians, runaway slaves, and outlaws began to cross the U. S. border and Spain was required by treaty to stop them from crossing. Spain failed to do so, so U. S. captured certain cities in Florida. This caused conflict between the U.
S. and the Seminoles so the U. S. burned a Seminole village. This caused the Seminoles to retaliate and start the First Seminole War. John Quincy Adams called for General Andrew Jackson to stop the Seminoles and he did by capturing more Florida cities. But, he executed 2 British soldiers and this caused heavy tension between Spain, Great Britain, and the U. S. So, Adams told Spain to either subdue the enemies or to cede to the U. S. Spain, after many revolts causing loss of power and many negotiations, agreed to the demands of Adams and Florida ceded to the U.
S. Also, Adams secured another important concession from Spain. This was the western boundary of Louisiana, which was never agreed upon by the Louisiana Purchase where U. S. gained Louisiana. Acting on his own and not by the orders of the government, John persuaded Spain to agree that Louisiana ran all the way to the Pacific Ocean. This was a major asset because now America stretched from ocean to ocean. Later, Adams ran for president of the U. S. and won becoming the sixth president. This was not easily won, though.
When the Electoral College voted for the candidates, none of them received a majority vote. So, by the 12th Amendment, the House was to vote for the 3 candidates with the most votes. John Quincy became one of the 3 candidates because he had received the 2nd highest number of votes. Henry Clay of Kentucky helped Adams to gain the majority of vote and Adams was elected president. Soon, followers of Jackson said that Adams had won by a corrupt bargain with Clay. This caused major problems for Adams during his presidency.
Another problem was that Adams wasnt a very social person, but he remained president anyway. In Adams first annual message to Congress, Adam proposed a program to strengthen the nation by using federal funds for new canals, highways, harbor improvements, a stronger navy, military schools, and a national university. He also believed in the government funding the arts and sciences especially in scientific research and building observatories. The government did not agree and Adams was criticized for thinking that the government should fund these projects.
They did not know that these preposterous ideas were actually the beginning of federal funded projects. In 1828, Adams enemies and Jacksons followers joined together to stop Adams from becoming reelected over Andrew Jackson. Adams was in trouble because one group, the new National Republicans, only supported him. Soon, the 2 parties began spreading malicious rumors about each other and this was also the beginning of political mud-slinging. Adams was defeated though and Jackson became president.
After his defeat, Adams returned to Massachusetts, and decided to retire his life in political retirement. However, in 1831 conservative leaders persuaded him to run for seat in the House, which he later did. Later in 1846, Adams suffered a stroke. He recovered enough to resume his seat in Congress a few months later, but on February 21,1848, John Quincy Adams died from suffering his second stroke while still serving his country. This showed how much Adams revered his country and worked hard to make it a unified nation.