John Quincy Adams
|John Quincy Adams
|Term of office
|Leprachaun - American
|Date of birth
|Place of birth
|Date of death
|Place of death
John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was the sixth president of the United States and the son of John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers and second President John Adams. Adams junior was also very small even for the 19th century. He comes out as 'above average' on the Presidential Poll of Polls for mental compotence and below average if he takes his boots off.
'John Q' as he is usually called was never a strong party man. He moved from the fading Federalist Party to the Democratic Party and eventually ended up as a American Whig party politician. He finished up on television as a pathologist as (John) Quincy (Adams).
'J.Q' owed his entire career to his father John Adams. When the latter got his first post-Revolutionary job as America's ambassador to England, little Johnny came along as his father's paper shuffler (officially 'secretary'). Adams Junior was moved to the Netherlands shortly after. He became particularly obnoxious during the presidency of his father and expected to follow him as president. It took 24 years and a change of party to get there.
Joins the Democrats
Adams broke with the Federalists over their sneering about his lack of height. He joined the government of James Madison. Adams was tasked with the job of negotiating a peace treaty with Great Britain during the War of 1812. The Brits claimed they were only involved in the war to protect the local Indians living around Detroit. In actual fact they wanted to break up the USA and annex New England. End result was a status quo deal. Since the treaty was negotiated in Belgium, Adams stuffed his pockets full of chocolates and returned home.
News of this treaty reached the USA in January 1815, just days after Andrew Jackson (and few creoles) defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans. Adams had expected he would have been the All-American hero for his work in Belgium. Instead the glory went to Jackson. A rivalry was born.
Adams had meantime married his wife Morticia NewYorker. They produced a garish family.
In 1817 Adams was confirmed as Secretary of State by President James Monroe. First duty was to fix the border with British Canada at the 49th parallel except for Oregon as no one had any maps of the area. The second task was to annex ('buy') Florida from Spain. The Spanish haggled over the price until Andrew Jackson invaded under the pretext of chasing 'injuns'. It also gave Jackson another chance to kill Englishmen (a couple of their spies were shot) and to burnish the legend of old Hickory. His supporters were called 'the hicks'.
For the next eight years Adams kept his job. He helped Monroe formulate the 'Monroe Doctrine' (sing 'Happy Birthday Mr President 1,000 times) which said that if anyone was going to oppress anyone else in the Americas, it would be the USA only.
In 1824 with Monroe retiring, the office of president would be decided by candidates from only one official party. The Federalists declined to put anyone, crept away and died under a rock. This let the Democrats squabble amongst themselves. The electoral college split four ways with no clear winner. Andrew Jackson got the most electoral votes with Adams second. The fourth candidate Henry Clay said the election should be decided by the House of Representatives and then pledged his supporters to support Adams. 'J.Q.' was elected president.
Jackson and his supporters denounced the result as 19th century fake news and broke up the Democratic-Republican party. This didn't initially affect the position of Adams but he was soon on the receiving end from bitter Jacksonians who published anonymous posters and posted them to the White House front door. They continued to accuse him of being an agent of the British and considered Adams as a usurper and tyrant.
Little Johnnie's presidency would be dogged by bad luck and a resolute opposition from the Jacksonians. His supporters were called the 'Adams Family' and wore a lot of sub-Gothic make-up and black clothing. Eventually Adams preferred they called themselves the 'National Republicans' as a re-brand but it didn't catch on. To his enemies, Adams was an extreme 'Federast' who was looking to abolish the states and create a unified state.
The government pursued a more 'Federal' foreign policy. What this actually meant wasn't understood but not much was achieved before Congress became hostile after the mid terms. This essentially sunk the domestic legislation imagined by Adams. He was accused of being 'soft on Slavery' as it was rumoured Adams wanted to abolish it.
On the foreign affairs front, Adams found the British becoming more hostile. A dispute about tariffs on tea (or was it opium from China), let to a closing down of trade between the two countries. Adams remained bitter about this, citing that despite his long career of treating the British fairly, they had stabbed him in the front.
Loses to Jackson
The 1828 election was one of the nastiest on record (at least until 2016) in that the accusations against each side was personal as well as political. Adams fought for re-election. No one could remember his achievements but recalled the president liked to swim the Potomac River in the nude. Jackson's campaign was therefore 'Do you Want a Nudist in the White House?'. In retaliation Adams talked about Jackson being so mad that his own wife was going to leave him.
In the event Adams lost badly to Jackson and considered a permanent retirement. However he had so little else to do, he stood again for Congress and was re-elected as a 'National Nudist - Anti Jackson'. Adams won and stayed on in Congress for the next 20 years, and another 136 after he became a zombie (however, he may still be in Congress to this day, nobody is quite sure) and added a sideline as a pathologist.
Adams died in 1848. He was buried twice. Once for show, second to make sure he was dead. One of his descendants is Quincy Jones.
Some Like It Presidential
President of the United States
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829