John Quincy Adams: American Visionary by Fred KaplanFred Kaplan, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Lincoln, returns with John Quincy Adams, an illuminating biography of one of the most overlooked presidents in American history—a leader of sweeping perspective whose progressive values helped shape the course of the nation.
In this fresh and lively biography rich in literary analysis and new historical detail, Fred Kaplan brings into focus the dramatic life of John Quincy Adams—the little known and much misunderstood sixth president of the United States and the first son of John and Abigail Adams—and persuasively demonstrates how Adamss inspiring, progressive vision guided his life and helped shape the course of America.
Kaplan draws on a trove of unpublished archival material to trace Adamss evolution from his childhood during the Revolutionary War to his brilliant years as Secretary of State to his time in the White House and beyond. He examines Adamss myriad sides: the public and private man, the statesman and writer, the wise thinker and passionate advocate, the leading abolitionist and fervent federalist who believed strongly in both individual liberty and the governments role as an engine of progress and prosperity. In these ways—and in his energy, empathy, sharp intellect, and powerful gift with words both spoken and written—he was a predecessor of Lincoln and, later, FDR and Obama. Indeed, this sweeping biography makes clear how Adamss forward-thinking values, his definition of leadership, and his vision for the nations future is as much about twenty-first century America as it is about Adamss own time.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, John Quincy Adams paints a rich portrait of this brilliant leader and his significance to the nation and our own lives.
For a discussion of the history and nature of the presidency, see presidency of the United States of America. John Quincy Adams entered the world at the same time that his maternal great-grandfather, John Quincy, for many years a prominent member of the Massachusetts legislature , was leaving it—hence his name. He grew up as a child of the American Revolution. His patriot father, John Adams , at that time a delegate to the Continental Congress , and his patriot mother, Abigail Smith Adams , had a strong molding influence on his education after the war had deprived Braintree of its only schoolmaster. In and again in the boy accompanied his father to Europe. He studied at a private school in Paris in —79 and at the University of Leiden , Netherlands , in Thus, at an early age he acquired an excellent knowledge of the French language and a smattering of Dutch.
John Quincy Adams began his diplomatic career as the U. After serving in the Massachusetts State Senate and the U. Senate, the younger Adams rejoined diplomatic service under President James Madison, helping to negotiate the Treaty of Ghent , which ended the War of John Quincy Adams went on to win the presidency in a highly contentious election in , and served only one term. Outspoken in his opposition to slavery and in support of freedom of speech, Adams was elected to the House of Representatives in ; he would serve until his death in
In his pre-presidential years, Adams was one of America's greatest diplomats formulating, among other things, what became the Monroe Doctrine ; in his post-presidential years, he conducted a consistent and often dramatic fight against the expansion of slavery. Though full of promise, his presidential years were difficult.
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Politics and society in the early nineteenth century
Eleven year old John Quincy traveled with John Adams to France where his father served as a diplomatic envoy. It took them six weeks on board of the Boston to cross the Atlantic. Studied at the University of Leiden , Netherlands. At age 14 and because of his fluency in French John Quincy traveled to St. Petersburg as secretary and translator for Francis Dana.