We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Who is John Quincy Adams?

By S. N. Smith
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
PublicPeople is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PublicPeople, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

John Quincy Adams was born on 11 July 1767, in Braintree, Massachusetts, to John Adams, second president of the United States of America, and Abigail Adams. He would grow up to become the sixth president of the United States, the first American president to be the son of a president.

Accompanying his father to Europe at the age of ten, John Quincy Adams was educated in France and the Netherlands. For several years he remained abroad, becoming proficient in French as well as several other languages. As a young teenager, his language talents garnered him a position with the U.S. envoy to Russia, Francis Dana, as an interpreter. He accompanied Dana to St. Petersburg, Russia, in that capacity, and remained there for almost two years. Eventually, John Quincy Adams returned to the United States to graduate from Harvard College in 1787, and afterward established a law practice.

Raised in an atmosphere of politics and public service, it was not long before John Quincy Adams began to be dissatisfied with law and sought to make his own foray into the world of politics. In 1794, he was appointed by George Washington to serve as minister to the Netherlands. He was well qualified for the position, speaking both French and Dutch. It is during this period that he would meet and eventually wed Louisa Catherine Johnson, on 26 July 1797. They would have four children: George Washington, John, Charles Francis, and Louisa Catherine.

In 1796, John Adams, John Quincy Adams’s father, became president of the United States. At George Washington’s urging, Adams Sr. appointed John Quincy Adams to the post of minister to Prussia, in which capacity he served until 1801.

In 1802, John Quincy Adams was elected to serve in the Massachusetts State Senate. The following year, with support from the Federalist Party, he was elected to serve in the U.S. Senate. As a senator, Adams was determined to pursue the interests of the entire country, not just the Federalist Party, a position that left him out of favor with his New England supporters. Two events in particular diverged from Federalist/New England preference: Adams voted in favor of the Louisiana Purchase, and he voted to support the Embargo Act, both of which damaged New England interests.

In 1808, John Quincy Adams resigned his seat in the Senate, finally breaking with the Federalists and becoming a Republican. Under President James Madison, he served as minister to Russia until 1814, witnessing Napoleon’s invasion of that country in 1812.

From 1815 to 1817, Adams served as diplomatic representative to Great Britain. In 1817, Adams was granted the position of secretary of state under President James Monroe. During his tenure, Adams played a crucial role in the annexing of Florida to the United States, and helped to craft the Monroe Doctrine.

In 1824, John Quincy Adams followed in his father’s footsteps and ran for president. With five candidates, including Andrew Jackson, and no favorite, the election was decided in the House of Representatives. Adams was inaugurated on 4 March 1825. He would serve one term only — turning out to be ill-equipped to contend with the social and partisan demands of the office.

Although an experienced diplomat, he eschewed political machinations and cared more for personal competence than party politics. He lacked the warmth and personal magnetism necessary to invigorate the office of the presidency, and did not enjoy courting and entertaining party supporters. He was plagued by opposition from Jackson’s supporters, who were still angry over the events of the 1824 election.

As president, John Quincy Adams was forward thinking in his beliefs that federal money should be spent to improve and cohere the entire nation. To this end, he advocated federal funding of harbor and highway renovations, new canals, naval fortifications, and military academies. He supported funding of the arts, scientific research, and the creation of astronomical observatories — all of which were ill received.

The presidential campaign of 1828 was a malicious one, with supporters of both Adams and Jackson resorting to personal attacks to gain support for their candidates. When the dust settled, Jackson emerged the victor. Bitter over the defeat, Adams did not attend Jackson’s inauguration on 4 March 1829. Adams left Washington and returned to Massachusetts, intending to retire from politics and devote himself to writing.

In 1831, however, John Quincy Adams emerged from retirement to once again enter the political realm, this time as a Whig congressman. He served in Congress for seventeen years, an important voice in the fight against slavery. Also, Adams’s efforts helped to establish the Smithsonian Institution.

On 21 February 1848, John Quincy Adams suffered a stroke in the House of Representatives. Two days later, he passed away. He is interred in the United First Parish Church, in Quincy, Massachusetts, along with his father, mother, and wife.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By ShadowGenius — On Mar 01, 2011

This man was told to break off a romantic involvement by his father and obeyed. This shows the level of obedience that was expected of a man in his position, as well as showing how tough his dad was.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.