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John Quincy Adams Lesson for Kids: Facts & Biography

Instructor: Debra Patuto

Debra has taught at elementary levels and has an M.ed with certification in elementary education and special education

John Quincy Adams was the sixth president of the United States of America. Before and after his presidency he made many contributions to the country. Let's take a close look at John Quincy Adams, his life and his career.

Who Is John Quincy Adams?

John Quincy Adams was born in Massachusetts in July 1767. His mother was Abigail Adams, and his father was John Adams, who would later become the second president of the United States. Eventually, John Quincy followed in his father's presidential footsteps, serving as the sixth president of the United States from 1825-1829. He is known for his government services before and after his presidency.

John Quincy Adams
A portrait of John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams grew up during the American Revolution (when America was fighting for independence from England). When John Quincy was ten years old his father became ambassador to France and moved his family from Massachusetts to France. There, John Quincy was educated and learned to speak fluent French and Dutch. He later returned to Massachusetts, where he attended Harvard University and became a lawyer.

Political Career

Throughout his career, John Quincy Adams was appointed as a U.S minister to the Netherlands, Prussia, Russia and Great Britain. As U.S. minister he would represent the United States while building and strengthening relationships between the United States and the countries he was appointed to.

In 1817, under President James Monroe, John Quincy was appointed to be the eighth secretary of state, or the government official who advises the president about relationships with other countries around the world. He stayed in this role for eight years and had much success, and it has been said that John Quincy Adams could be one of the greatest secretaries of state that the United States ever had.

He played a major role in developing the Monroe Doctrine, which warned European nations that the Unites States would defend North and South America if need be. He also negotiated with Britain over the northern border with Canada as well as with Spain to extended U.S. boundaries, which allowed Florida to become a part of the United States.

Controversy Becoming President

In 1824 John Quincy Adams ran against Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay to become president. John Quincy got fewer votes than Andrew Jackson in the general election, but since nobody won the majority of votes, which would have been half or more of the votes (this is called majority rule), the U.S. government's House of Representatives (representatives from every state in the country who work together to makes laws) had to vote on president.

John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson
John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson

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