John Quincy Adams: Childhood & Early Life

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

John Quincy Adams was one of America's most scholarly presidents. You'll find out why that was the case in this lesson about his childhood and early life.

Like Father, Like Son

George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were the 41st and 43rd Presidents of the United States of America, respectively. They have the same first name and they have the same last name. The first was the father and the second was the son.

And in that sense, they resemble John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The first was the father, and the second President of the United States. The second was the son, and the sixth President of the United States.

It is he, John Quincy Adams, which this lesson is about.

Birth & Childhood

John Quincy Adams was born in Braintree, Massachusetts on July 11, 1767. He was the second child, but the first son of John Adams and Abigail Adams. John Quincy Adams got his middle name from his maternal great-grandfather, John Quincy, who was a prominent politician in Massachusetts.

John Quincy Adams' dad wasn't president when he was born. Actually, John Quincy Adams (JQA) would be about 30 when his dad assumed office. But don't worry, he still had a pretty privileged upbringing. When he was born, his dad was a well-off and well-known lawyer. His mom was the daughter of a minister held in high regard. In fact, his mother's parents both came from very influential families of the day, the Nortons and the Quincys. So, yeah, little JQA won the birth lottery.

As a small child, he saw the Battle of Bunker Hill first-hand from Penn's Hill, which was situated above his family's farm. Even as a child, JQA always started his day by reading a few chapter of the Bible.

Early Life

A young John Quincy Adams.

Not long after the Battle of Bunker hill, at age 10, JQA accompanied his dad to Europe. On this and on various other trips to Europe, he received firsthand experience in diplomacy and politics from a very early age. He also received a wonderful education in some of the best private schools throughout Europe, such as those in Paris, Amsterdam and Ledine. He read as many books as he could and he learned several languages as a result, namely French, German and Dutch. Because of this, he would read the Bible in different languages as he mastered them one by one.

Believe it or not, at age 14, JQA went to Russia with diplomat Francis Dana. Why? He served as the man's secretary and, get this, translator. Not as a translator of Russian but that of French since Russian diplomats knew the language well. He was also the secretary to his father while his father negotiated the Treaty of Paris. This was the treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War.

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