John Quincy Adams

The 2nd stop on the “Birthplaces” tour we visited the home right next to John Adams’ birthplace. When John married Abigail his father Deacon Adams gave the young couple a home right next door. This is where John Quincy Adams was born on July 11, 1767.

This is also where John Adams had his law firm and wrote the Massachusetts Constitution. There is a replica on display that is quite impressive. There were notable differences in building techniques between the original family home and John Adam’s birthplace. Significantly there were changes in  the hearths and kitchen areas. The leading cause of death for women in the colonial period was not childbirth but rather fire. Thier voluminous skirts would brush the coals in the fireplace and often caught fire. By the time this house was built changes had been made to the hearth area extending it and allowing the pots to be swung out from the fire to be stirred.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post young John Quincy would not stay in the house for many years as his visit to Europe with his father became an extended stay as a translator. By the time he entered Harvard in 1785 he was proficient not only in French but also  Greek, Latin, French, Dutch, and German.

Upon his graduation from Harvard in 1790 John Quincy established a law practice in Boston but was more interested in politics than law. This led to an appointment as minister to the Netherlands. From the Netherlands he went to Britain where he met and married Catherine Johnson. From Britain, John Quincy was dispatched to Prussia and did not return to the United States until 1801.

Upon his return his domestic political career really began. He was immediately elected to the Massachusetts state senate. 2 years later he was U. S. Senator. Seems  politicians have been using public office in Massachusetts as a stepping stone to the national level since the birth of our nation!

President James Madison appointed John Quincy minister to Russia. Thanks to this appointment John Quincy was able to obtain intervention by Russia into the negotiation for peace in the War of 1812 helping to bring that conflict to an end.

Next on Mr. Adams’ resume was an appointment by yet another president, James Monroe , who appointed John Quincy Secretary of State. During this time John Quincy negotiated the acquisition of Florida and defined the western boundaries of Louisiana.

In 1824 after a bitterly contested four-way presidential battle, John Quincy became the 6th president of the United States.  John Quincy’s presidency was marred by political in-fighting and a hostile congress…sound familiar. I guess some things never change.

In 1828 John Quincy was overwhelmingly defeated by Andrew Jackson making him a one term president.

Following his defeat for re-elcetion, John Quincy thought to retire to The Old House at Peace Field but his retirement was short-lived. In 1831 he was elected to the House of Representatives, where he served for eight successive terms until his death.

Adams suffered a stroke on the floor of the House of Representatives on Feb. 21, 1848. He was carried to the Speaker’s room, where he died 2 days later without regaining consciousness.

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  1. Have you see the HBO? biographical epic they did on John Adams? It was excellent!! A must see, as it brings to life everything from the Boston Tea Party to his years in office. I highly recommend it~!

    • I haven’t seen it myself but I bet my sister has watched it. I’ll keep an eye out for it and try to catch it. Thanks for the tip 🙂

  2. History is so interesting, I love to see how people lived in those times. They sure had it rough in those days.

    • Well I know we sure think they had it rough but I bet they just took it in stride the way we do today. Somday someon will say boy those folk alive in 2011 sure had it rough. How did they get along 🙂

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