Childhood of John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was born on July 11, 1767, in Braintree, Massachusetts. He was named after his great-grandfather who was in the Massachusetts legislature and a military officer. His father was America's 2nd president, John Adams and his mother was Abigail Smith Adams. John Quincy Adams grew up during the time of the colonial uprisings that was leading up to the American Revolution.
John Quincy Adam's father often told him the stories of the Boston Massacre, which took place in 1770 and the Boston Tea Party in 1773. At the start of the American Revolution he watched the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, while atop of Penn's Hill. John Quincy Adams was so close to this battle he could hear the loud explosions of the cannons.
John Quincy Adams had several hobbies and interests that kept him busy during his childhood. He often went horseback riding, took nature walks, and swimming. He played a popular game called billiards, and would frequent the theatres to watch the many plays performed there. He could often be found reading books written by Shakespeare and also studied the Bible. He kept a diary his entire life, often writing and drawing the details of his life. John Quincy Adams described his diary as such; "next to the Holy Scriptures, the most precious and valuable book ever written by human hands."
Accompanying his father to France in 1778, Adams attended the Passy Academy in Paris while his father administered to U.S. foreign affairs with the French government. In Paris Adams studied dance, music, mathematics, and classical literature. He and his father returned to Braintree briefly in 1779 before embarking on another diplomatic mission to the Netherlands, where Adams enrolled at the University of Leiden in 1780. At an early age, Adams had learned to communicate fluently in both French and Dutch.
John Quincy Adams received most of his schooling from his parents, since the war had kept the schools in Braintree closed. Adams studied dance, music, mathematics, and classical literature, from the Passy Academy in Paris. Adams also studied at the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands, while his father was on a diplomatic mission there in 1779.
John Quincy Adams Becomes the 6th President of the United States
The Presidential elections turned out to be a very competitive campaign. With 5 political figures running for the office of the 6th president, John Quincy Adams had his work cut out for him. These men were; Secretary of War John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, Treasury Secretary William H. Crawford of Georgia, Speaker of the House Henry Clay of Kentucky, and Gen. Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, as well as John Quincy Adams. John Calhoun decided he would have a better chance of becoming Vice President, so he withdrew his presidential candidacy.
John Quincy Adams, really did not think he could win the election, but he had the New England states backing his candidacy. Andrew Jackson started the campaign with very high hopes of winning. His military background in the south had both the southern states and territories in the west backing him. Treasury Secretary William Crawford, truely had the best chances of winning, with having the experience from being a foreign ambassador and a Cabinet member in two administrations from the past. However, a stroke left him in poor health and he just couldn't recover from it.
Andrew Jackson won the popular vote of the people, but none of the four candidates received the necessary electoral votes to become President. Andrew Jackson aquired 99, John Quincy Adams had 84, William H. Crawford received 41, and Clay only 37. In accordance with the Constitution, the decision became the responsibility of the House of Representatives. Clay was dropped from consideration because the House of Representatives had to select from the top three candidates. Immediately Clay endorsed Adams. This gave Adams the votes he needed to become the United States 6th President.
President John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was inaugurated on March 4, 1825, aware of the sentiment against him, He clung to his principles to serve the best interests of a democratic government. He began his presidency focused on improvements to the new country.
Adams began his presidency with an agenda to boost the national economy and increase the value of public lands. He sought approval for the federal government to sponsor further exploration and settlement in the West. He petitioned Congress for federal aid to build more roads and canals, To strengthen higher education and stimulate new interests in science, he proposed creating a national university, a naval academy, and national astronomical observatories. However, his numerous political enemies in Congress rejected his ambitious projects.
In 1828 Adams proposed a high tariff on imported industrial goods, this only caused more hostilities towards him from the Jacksonians. This bill would protect New England factories, from European competitors. The Jacksonians in Congress opposed the tariff, and amended it to include a tax on imported raw materials used in these factories. Their plan was to rally Northerners to join the Southerners in condemning the tariff. Surprising the Jacksonians, the New England legislators approved the tariff, and Adams signed the bill. Virginia legislatures called this bill "Tariff of Abominations." Many state activists opposed this bill, and began an early campaign to rid Adams of a second term as president. They argued that the tariff promoted the 6th President's personal interests and would only bring the expense to the U.S. consumers. The protective tariff was the key issue in the presidential election of 1828.
President John Quincy Adams ran for reelection under the Republican ticket with Treasury Secretary Richard Rush of Pennsylvania as his running mate. Andrew Jackson campaigned against President John Quincy Adams under the Democratic party and Vice President John Calhoun, seeking to retain his office, became his running mate. The unpopularity of the "Tariff of Abominations" and the Jacksonian hatred against President John Quincy Adams caused Adams to lose the campaign. Andrew Jackson won the election with 178 electoral votes while Adams had 83 electorial votes.