John Quincy Adams

This essay has a total of 1561 words and 8 pages.

John Quincy Adams



Kristen Miller
Ms. Mechikas
US History I-section 2
15 March 2000

John Quincy Adams- a success or a failure?

John Quincy Adams was the only son of a president to become president.
He had an impressive political background that began at the age of fourteen. He
was an intelligent and industrious individual. He was a man of strong character
and high principles . By all account, his presidency should have been a huge
success, yet it wasn't. John Quincy Adams' presidency was frustrating and
judged a failure because of the scandal, attached to his election, the pettiness of
his political rivals, and his strong character.
John Quincy Adams was born on July 1767, in Braintree Massachusetts.
His parents were John and Abigail Adams.
"Quincy, had every advantage as a youngster. At the time of his birth, his
father was an increasingly admired and prospering lawyer, and his mother
Abigail Smith Adams, was the daughter of an esteemed minister, whose
wife's family combined two prestigious and influential lines, the Nortons
and the Quincys. Accompanying his father on diplomatic missions in
Europe, young John Quincy Adams received a splendid education at
private schools in Paris, Leiden, and Amsterdam, early developing his
penchant for omnivorous reading." (Graff 92)
He was able to speak several languages. At the age of fourteen, he was asked
to serve as secretary and translator to Francis Dana, the first US ambassador to
Russia. "Despite his age, young Adams was a valuable aid to the consul ; he
enjoyed Russia and the exposure to diplomatic circles." (Presidents 176) He
later returned to the United States and attended Harvard.
"He graduated in two years and entered the law offices of Theophilus
Parsons in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Passing the bar in 1790, he set up
practice in Boston." (Presidents 176) In 1794 John began his long political
career.
George Washington appointed John Quincy Adams an Ambassador to
the Netherlands. After his father was elected as the second president of the
United States, he was reassigned to the post of minister to Prussia. He kept this
post throughout his fathers term of office. After his fathers defeat to Thomas
Jefferson he returned home. " In 1802 he was elected to the Massachusetts
senate, which sent him to the U. S senate the following year." (Diller 27) He was
also appointed to the Supreme Court, a membership he declined. President
James Madison then appointed him to minister to Russia in 1809. He continued
to serve his country and gained a well respected reputation.
" Adding to his reputation was his brilliant and tough-minded performance
as chief American peace commissioner in the negotiations at Ghent that
ended the War of 1812 and his effectiveness as minister to Great Britain
during the last two years of the Madison administration." (Graff 92)
He continued to distinguish himself by negotiating a treaty with Spain.
"The Adams-Onis Treaty with Spain, concluded with Spain on February
22, 1819, provided for the transfer of East and West Florida to the United
States and the establishment of a border between Spanish and US
territory running from the Gulf of Mexico to the Rocky Mountains and
along the forty-second parallel to the Pacific ocean. Historians regard the
treaty as a brilliant act of diplomacy, and Adams himself called its
conclusion "the most important event of my life." (Diller 27)
Many historians give credit to Adams for his contributions to the Monroe
Doctrine.
"Adams also was the mind behind the Monroe Doctrine, which warned
that the United States would oppose any European interference in the
internal affairs of an American nation or further European colonization of
territory in the Western Hemisphere." (Diller 27)
There was no doubt that Adams was a deserving candidate for the
Presidential election of 1824. He had held high diplomatic positions and
displayed both aptitude and ability.
"He wanted to be President, but although Adams was the most
distinguished member of the Monroe Cabinet, his successes were
somewhat neutralized by his lack of friends and organizational backing"
(Presidents 180)
He had also earned himself a reputation of being stubborn and unflexable. He
had no problems speaking out against issues he felt were unjust. He also spoke
out against his own political party.
"The son of a leading Federalist party, Adams proved to be anything but a
slavish devotee to that political cause. When he thought the party was in
the wrong, he stood ready to oppose it. In fact, as he told his father, if he
thought the country was in the wrong, he could not bring himself to solicit
God's approval for its course." (Graff 92)
The final break from the Federalist party came after Adams choice to support
President Jefferson's Embargo act of 1807.
"Adams, however, angered his fellow Federalists by insisting on
considering each issue independently, rather than voting with the party.
When he supported President Jefferson's Embargo act in 1807, the
Massachusetts legislature elected his successor six months before his
term expired." (Diller 27)
He later resigned in protest and returned to teach at Harvard. Despite his break
with the federalist party, he remained active in politics. He was appointed
Minister to Russia and later appointed as Secretary of State under President
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