February 23rd, 2017

book cover - tpbol

President John Quincy Adams

On this date in 1848, Representative John Quincy Adams died, two days after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage on the floor of the House of Representatives. He had represented Massachusetts in the House since 1831 (the only former President to be elected to the House). Prior to that, Adams was the sixth President of the United States (1825-29). In office, he was only the second President to not be re-elected, and the first son of a former President to be elected President himself. His most lasting contributions to the nation may not have come from his Presidency, but rather his other activities before and after those four years. During his time in the House, Adams successfully argued the case of United States v. The Amistad Africans before the Supreme Court. Prior to his Presidency, he was the 8th Secretary of State (1817-25, under James Monroe), who formulated what came to be known as the Monroe Doctrine.

Born in 1767, he traveled the world with his father, John Adams, representing the brand new nation. The elder Adams was American envoy to France (1778-79) and to the Netherlands (1780-82), introducing John Quincy to diplomatic missions before his teenage years. At the age of 14, John Quincy joined the three-year American mission to Russia, seeking diplomatic recognition of the United States. He also spent time in Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.

As an adult (following his graduation from Harvard in 1790), he practiced law for a few years, before being appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands (1794-97) and Prussia (1797-1801). He returned home to represent Massachusetts in the Senate (1803-08), and then became Ambassador to Russia (1808-14) and the United Kingdom (1814-17), returning home again to become Secretary of State.

On August 15, 1813, John Quincy's older sister Abigail Adams Smith died, making him the senior Presidential child. He held that title until his death, making him the only President to also be the senior Presidential child at the same time. George W. Bush may one day have both titles, but not simultaneously.