On 11 July 1767 John Quincy Adams was born. He was born into an influential and politically powerful Boston family, and was expected by many, even in his early days, to achieve high office. These expectations were certainly met and the young boy was destined to become a Diplomat, Senator, Secretary of State, and then the Sixth President of the United States. It was an illustrious career that did much to reinforce the already strong position of the United States on the world stage.
Isolated snapshots of his life provide some insight into his capabilities and achievements.
* As an eight year old in 1775 he watched the Battle Of Bunker Hill from the family farmhouse. This conflict, between British troops and Colonial American forces resulted in a win for the British, but at a far greater cost than they had anticipated.
* When he was only twelve he began a detailed diary that he continued for some 68 years – up until his death in 1848.
* In 1802, at 35 years of age, he became a Senator, and then Secretary of State, under President Monroe in 1817.
* He then became the 6th President of the United States in 1825 following a controversial election in which the other main candidate, Andrew Jackson, claimed that a “corrupt bargain” had taken place.
* During his term he experienced three years of obstruction from a hostile Congress controlled by his opponents – notably Andrew Jackson.
* His Presidential term was distinguished by a large-scale modernisation of national transport and the strong promotion of Arts and Sciences.
* He lost the 1828 Presidential election to Andrew Jackson, after a bitter campaign in which many personal attacks were mounted. He returned to Massachusetts soon after.
* In 1830 he was elected to the House of Representatives, where he became a powerful anti-slavery campaigner.
* Adams died in 1848 at the age of 80.
“You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.”
– John Quincy Adams
Image: An engraving of John Quincy Adams as President – by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, circa 1826, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.