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John Quincy Adams, Politician and Amistad Counsel

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams was born on this date in 1767. He was a white-American diplomat, politician, opponent of slavery, and the sixth president of the United States.

Adams was born in Braintree, MA, in a part of town which eventually became Quincy, MA.  Adams was the son of U. S. President John Adams and Abigail Adams. Much of Adams' youth was spent overseas accompanying his father, who served as an American envoy to France from 1778 until 1779 and to the Netherlands in 1780. During this period, he was educated at institutions such as the University of Leiden.

As an adult, his party affiliations were Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Whig. He is most famous as a diplomat involved in many international negotiations and for formulating the Monroe Doctrine.  As president (1824 – 1829), he proposed a grand program of modernization and educational advancement, but was unable to get it through Congress.

After his presidency, rather than retire, he went on to win election as a National Republican and Whig to the House of Representatives, serving for 17 years, from 1831 until his death.  In Congress, he was chairman of the Committee on Manufactures, the Committee on Indian Affairs and the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Adams was an important antislavery voice In Congress.  From 1836-37, Adams presented to Congress the many petitions for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade in the District of Columbia.  In 1834, he was an unsuccessful candidate for governor of Massachusetts, losing to John Davis in 1841,

Adams represented the Amistad Africans, in the Supreme Court of the United States. The Amistad Africans had seized control of a Spanish ship, where they were being held illegally as slaves. He successfully argued that the Africans should not be taken to Cuba but should be considered free and have the option to remain within the U.S. or return home as free people.

John Quincy Adams died on February 23, 1848.

Reference
The Encyclopedia Britannica, Twenty-fourth Edition.
Copyright 1996 Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.
ISBN 0-85229-633-0

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