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Adams, John Quincy

American, 1767 - 1848


Son of the second president of the United States, John Adams (1735-1826), and his wife Abigail Smith Adams (1734-1818), John Quincy Adams himself served as sixth president, from 1824-1828. John Quincy Adams studied as a youth in Paris, Amsterdam and Leyden, spent two years as a private secretary for the American minister in Russian, and served as his father's secretary on diplomatic missions. He graduated from Harvard at the age of twenty, studied law, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1790 before embarking on his own political and diplomatic career. He served as minister to the Netherlands, Russia, and Great Britain, and presided over the commission which drew up the treaty ending the War of 1812. From 1803-1808 he was a US senator from Massachusetts and in 1817 was named by Monroe as Secretary of State. When Monroe stepped dow from office in 1824, John Quincy Adams succeeded him in office, but not without controversy. The 1824 election, which did not produce a clear majority, was decided upon in the House of Representatives; with the support of Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams was elected although Andrew Jackson had received a popular plurality. Adams' subsequent appointment of Clay as Secretary of State created a suspicion about the administration which contributed to Adams defeat to Andrew Jackson in 1828. John Quincy Adams was later elected to the House of Representatives, where he served from 1830 until his death in 1848. Adams married Louisa Catharine Johnson (1775-1852) of Maryland, daughter of the United States Consul in London, and had a son, Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886).

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