to Abigail Adams
and John Adams
The only son
of a president
to become president
until George W. Bush
. John Quincy Adams watched the American Revolution
as a boy and traveled as his father's secretary. Adams served as Minister (Ambassador) to the Netherlands
(at ages 26 and 32, respectively). Adams served one term as a Senator between these appointments. Adams served as Secretary of State
for President John Monroe
and assisted in the creation of the Monroe doctrine
and the treaty over mutual control of Oregon
. Perhaps Adam's most impressive feat was the acquisition of Florida. The colonies of East and West Florida were officially controlled by the Spanish
. The weakening of the Spanish Empire by the Napoleanic Wars
, along with the rebellions of Spanish-American nations, meant that Spain could not control the primarily British/American colonists. General Andrew Jackson raided the Florida colonies in responce to Seminole
raids into Georgia
and executed several British citizens for "inciting" the Native Americans. Adams did not condemn the raids both because they were popular and because they weakened the Spanish position. He challenged the Spanish to control Florida or cede
it to the US. In the end, the US bought "East" Florida for 5 million dollars. The treaty also ceded Spanish claim to Oregon
(which then included Washington
and some of British Columbia
), and "West Florida" (much of Alabama
) and more strictly defined the border between Spanish controlled Mexico
and the Louisiana Purchase
Adams was seen as the heir-apparent of the Presidency in 1824 as the Secretary of State of the previous President. However, when Adams, Henry Clay, William H. Crawford and Andrew Jackson each failed to receive the necessary electoral votes. The House of Representatives was to decide between the three top candidates (Clay, Jackson and Adams). Clay through his support to Adams due to a similar agenda and in exchange for an appointment as Secretary of State.
Adam's Presidency was hampered by a nearly hostile Congress and opposition to his radical positions. Adams wished to fund a national highway system, an national university, and widespread canals.
Jackson won the 1828 election and Adams returned to Massachusetts. Two years later he returned to Washington as the Congressman representing Plymouth.
For the next 17 years he served. His greatest concern for much of that time was slavery. He opposed the Texas annexation and supported the Oregon annexation due to their positions of slavery. He constantly strove to oppose the expansion of slavery into the new territories, to eliminate it in D.C. and to recognize the right of the people to petition for the abolition of slavery. Adams also opposed the Mexican-American War calling it unjust. While arguing against the awarding of "swords of honor" to generals of that war, John Quincy Adams had a stroke. He was moved from the floor of the Capitol and died two days later.