John probably because his “worst four years” of his

John Quincy Adams’s best years of service came before and after his time in the White House probably because his “worst four years” of his life were spent in the White House. Born on July 11, 1767, in Braintree, Massachusetts, John Quincy was the son of John Adams, a prodigy of the American Revolution and the second U.S. president, and his wife, future first lady Abigail Adams.    As a child, John Quincy Adams witnessed firsthand the early life of the nation. From the family farm, he watched the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. At age 10, he traveled to France with his father, who was securing aid during the Revolution. By age 14, John Quincy was receiving “on-the-job” training in the diplomatic corps and going to school. In 1781, he traveled with diplomat, Francis Dana, to Russia, serving as his secretary and translator. In 1783, he traveled to Paris to serve as secretary to his father, negotiating the Treaty of Paris. During this time, John Quincy attended schools in Europe and became fluent in French, Dutch and German. Returning home in 1785, he entered Harvard College and graduated in 1787.In 1790, John Quincy became a practicing attorney in Boston. As tensions mounted between Britain and France, he supported President George Washington’s neutrality policy of 1793. President Washington appreciated Adams’s support so much that he appointed him the U.S. minister to Holland. On the way to his post, John Quincy traveled to England to marry Louisa Catherine Johnson, the daughter of Joshua Johnson.    In 1802, John Quincy was elected to the Massachusetts legislature, and one year later, he was elected the U.S. Senate. Like his father, John Quincy was considered a member of the Federalist Party, but in reality, he was never a strict party man. In June 1808, Adams broke off with the Federalists, resigned from his Senate seat, and became a Democratic-Republican.John Quincy Adams returned to the diplomatic corps in 1809, when President James Madison appointed him the first officially recognized minister to Russia. In 1814, Adams was recalled from Russia to serve as chief negotiator for the U.S. government, settling the War of 1812. The following year, Adams served as minister to England.    John Quincy Adams served as secretary of state in President James Monroe’s administration from 1817 to 1825. During this time, he negotiated the Adams-Onis Treaty, acquiring Florida for the United States. He also helped negotiate the Treaty of 1818, settling the long-standing border dispute between Britain and the United States over the Oregon country, and improving relations between Great Britain and its former colonies.Andrew Jackson, born in a backwoods settlement in the Carolinas in 1767 (Waxhaws region), received sporadic education. But in his late teens he read law for about two years, and was admitted to the bar in 1787. He became an outstanding young prosecution lawyer in North Carolina.There he began to make a name for himself and in 1778 he decided to move to Nashville where he became a wealthy landowner. In 1796, he became a member of the convention that would establish the Tennessee Constitution. He was then elected the first representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected to the U.S. Senate the following year, but resigned after serving only eight months. In 1798, Jackson was appointed a circuit judge on the Tennessee superior court, serving in that position until 1804.That same year, Jackson acquired a rather large plantation in Davidson County, Tennessee, called the Hermitage. At the start of the plantation, only lnine African-American slaves worked on the cotton plantation. By the time of Jackson’s death in 1845, however, approximately 150 slaves labored in the Hermitage’s fields.Although he lacked military experience, Andrew Jackson was appointed a major general of the Tennessee militia in 1802. He was later appointed to major general of the U.S. Military. He was also well-known and admired among his troops, who said that Jackson was “as tough as old hickory wood” on the battlefield, earning Jackson the nickname “Old Hickory.”Jackson’s military exploits made him a rising political star, and in 1822 the Tennessee Legislature nominated him for the presidency of the United States. And though Jackson had won the popular vote, the Electoral College voted Adams for the presidency after Henry Clay had his supporters back Adams’ campaign.Jackson was so upset with the election results he wanted to rid the Electoral College completely. Stating that the American people were being robbed of their vote and that it was corrupt.After running for president again, Jackson was elected in 1828 as America’s seventh president. The Monroe Doctrine, which was first spoken on December 2, 1823, is the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy enunciated first by President James Monroe in his annual message to Congress. Declaring that the Old World and New World had different systems and must remain distinct spheres, Monroe made four basic points: “(1) the United States would not interfere in the internal affairs of or the wars between European powers; (2) the United States recognized and would not interfere with existing colonies and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere; (3) the Western Hemisphere was closed to future colonization; and (4) any attempt by a European power to oppress or control any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be viewed as a hostile act against the United States.” Secretary of State John Quincy Adams had played the most important role in developing the phrasing of the declaration, and he also influenced the doctrine’s overall structure. Two things had been uppermost in the minds of Adams and Monroe. In 1821 the Russian czar had proclaimed that “all the area north of the fifty-first parallel and extending one hundred miles into the Pacific would be off-limits to non-Russians.” Adams had refused to accept this claim, and he told the Russian minister that the United States would defend the belief that the ‘American continents are no longer subjects of any new European colonial establishments.’ More worrisome, however, were the circumstances in Central and South America. Revolutions against Spanish rule had been going on for some time, but it seemed possible that Spain and France might seek to reassert European rule in those regions. The British, meanwhile, were interested in ensuring the demise or ending of Spanish colonialism, with all the trade restrictions that Spanish rule involved. British foreign secretary, George Canning, formally proposed, that London and Washington unite on a joint warning against intervention in Latin America. When the Monroe cabinet debated the idea, Adams opposed it, arguing that British interests dictated such a policy, and that Canning’s proposal also called upon the two powers to renounce any intention of annexing such areas as Cuba and Texas. The Monroe Doctrine continued to be debated and tweaked for decades after, all the way up until the Bush presidency. As president, Adams faced strong and unrelenting hostility from the Jacksonians in Congress, which perhaps explained his few substantive accomplishments while in the White House. He proposed a progressive national program, including federal funding of an interstate system of roads and canals and the creation of a national university. Critics, especially Jackson’s supporters, argued that such advancements exceeded federal authority according to the U.S. Constitution. The Erie Canal was completed while Adams was in office, enabling a flow of products such as grain, whiskey and farm produce to Eastern markets. Adams also tried to provide Native Americans with territory in the West, but like many of his initiatives this failed when brought to Congress.Up for reelection in 1828, Adams was damaged by criticism of his unpopular domestic program, among other issues; he lost badly to Jackson, who captured most of the south and western votes. Adams became only the second president in U.S. history to fail to win a second term; the first had been his own father, in 1800. He retired and moved to Massachusetts only briefly, winning election to the House of Representatives in 1830. He served as a leading congressman for the remainder of his life, earning the nickname “Old Man Eloquent” for his relentless and persistent support of freedom of speech and universal education, and especially for his strong arguments against slavery, the “peculiar institution” that would tear the nation apart only decades later. After suffering two strokes, Adams died in 1848, at the age of 80.


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