John Quincy Adams was born on July 1767, in Braintree Massachusetts. His parents were John and Abigail Adams. His mother came from prominent families, the Nortons and the Quincys, and his father was a prospering lawyer at the time of Quincy's birth, which allowed for him to have every advantage as a youngster. When he wasn't accompanying his father on diplomatic trips to Europe he was receiving the best education at private schools in Paris, Leiden, and Amsterdam. By the time he entered Harvard in 1785, he was proficient in Greek, Latin, French, Dutch, and German. At the age of fourteen, he was asked to serve as secretary and translator to Francis Dana, U.S. ambassador to Russia. Despite his age he was considered a great asset due to his enthusiasm for new cultures and his immediate interest in politics. He graduated in two years from Harvard and went on to study law. Passing his bar exam in 1790 he began to practice in law in Boston. Always more interested in politics over law Adams wrote and published several political essays. In 1794 John Quincy's long political career began with George Washington appointing him to be the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. He kept this post for the remainder of Washington's presidency and was reassigned to serve as the minister of Prussia when his father was elected as president in 1797. He was sent to London in connection with Jay's Treaty, where he met Louisa Catherine Johnson, the daughter of the American consul, and married her on July 26, 1797.
He returned home after his father's term and two years later he was elected to the Massachusetts Senate. He joined the senate as a Federalist but he pursued an independent route. The Federalist Party forced him to re...
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...er of his life he served as a powerful leader, until his death. After 1835 he was identified with the antislavery cause, although he was not an abolitionist. From 1836 to 1844, when his efforts were finally successful, he worked to revoke the gag rule that required the tabling of all petitions relating to slavery. Although he was generally associated with the Whigs, he as usual pursued his own independent course. Most importantly, he fought against limitation of civil liberties.
His presidency was judged a failure due in a large part to the presidential scandal he seemed unable to overcome. They never let the public forget his "Corrupt Bargain" with Clay. They also doomed almost every piece of important legislation he had tried to pass. 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.
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