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.
But the precocious Adams had only a little of the prig and nothing of the hypocrite in his nature. Being the outcome of many generations of simple, devout, intelligent Puritan ancestors, living in a community which loved virtue and sought knowledge, all inherited and all present influences combined to make him, as it may be put in a single word, sensible.
Like the dutiful son he remained through life, John Quincey Adams adhered to these admonitions and, as an adult, read the Bible each morning for an hour in English, French, or German. According to his lights, it was the proper way to start the day...And on Sunday he invariably attended two and sometimes three church services of different denominations, depending on his evaluation of the minister's intellectual strengths and preaching ability.
Yet when Adams had been appointed in 1817, his mixed political background, his regional affiliation, and his own personality were assumed to be serious handicaps if not disqualifications, in any presidential effort. "It is thought here that J.Q. Adams will not be a successful candidate," wrote Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, who admired him. "It seems that the great objection to him is, that he is retiring and unobtrusive, studious, cool, and reflecting; that he does nothing to excite attention, or to gain friendships."
Congressman John Quincy Adams was barred from presenting his antislavery petitions because back in 1836 Congress had passed a resolution, or decision, known as the "gag rule." This rule specifically banned congressmen from presenting citizens' petitions about slavery.
Eventually, Adams became a diplomat, poet, orator, writer, scientist, silviculturist, Harvard professor, U.S. secretary of state, legislator at both state and federal levels, and president of the United States. After leaving the White House in 1829, he was a congressman until 1848, when he died in the federal Capitol in his eighty-first year. It was a life of unmatched public service, and yet also one of tormenting private struggle.
As secretary of state, Adams played the leading part in two most important episodes--the acquisition of Florida and the promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine. Ever since the acquisition of Louisiana successive administrations had sought to include a part at least of Florida in that purchase. In 1819, after long negotiations, Adams succeeded in bringing the Spanish minister to the point of signing a treaty in which the Spaniards abandoned all claims to territory east of the Mississippi, and the United States relinquished all claim to what is now known as Texas.
John Quincy Adams was the son of President John Adams, served as U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and was Secretary of State under President Monroe. In the presidential election of 1824, no one candidate received a majority of electoral votes and the election was decided in Adams' favor by Congress.
When John Quincy was ten, his father was posted to Europe as a special envoy of the revolutionary American government, and John Quincy accompanied him. For the boy, it was an incredible introduction to the courts of Europe and the practice of diplomacy. For seven years, except for a few months back in Massachusetts, John Quincy lived in Paris, Amsterdam, and St. Petersburg
Ralph Waldo Emerson said Adams “takes his tea with sulfuric acid.” Perhaps he did but he also wrote poetry, loved theatre, opera, good wine, and good company. He held strong, informed views on every subject under the sun—whose rising and setting he timed each day. Truly, he was “Old Man Eloquent.”
President James Madison appointed Adams U.S. Minister to Russia in 1809 and Adams served until 1814. He duly reported about Napoleon’s failed invasion, among other events. Adams was Head of the Commission that negotiated the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 that ended the War of 1812 with Great Britain.