John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was the sixth President of the United States (1825–1829). He was also an American diplomat and served in both the Senate and House of Representatives. 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 was key to many international negotiations, such as the Treaty of Ghent which ended the War of 1812. As Secretary of State, he negotiated with England America’s northern border with Canada, negotiated with Spain the annexation of Florida, and formulated the Monroe Doctrine. Historians agree he was one of the greatest diplomats and Secretaries of State in American history.
As president, he proposed a program of modernization and educational advancement which was intended to achieve national greatness through economic growth and a strong federal government. He was stymied by a Congress controlled by his enemies, and his lack of political adroitness and 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 when new technologies and networks of infrastructure and communication brought to the people messages of religious revival, social reform, and party politics, as well as moving goods, money and people ever more rapidly and efficiently.
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 and argued that if a civil war ever broke out the president could abolish slavery by using his war powers, a correct prediction of Abraham Lincoln‘s use of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Adams 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 insurrections.
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