John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the 6th president of the United States of America from 1825 to 1829. He was born in1767 and died in 1848. Most of his life was spent in serving the public infact fifty one years of his life was spent in the public office. Adams served in the US government in various capacities; he served as a diplomat, secretary of state, senator of Massachusetts, a member of the House of Representatives and as the president of the United States of America. It is during this period when he as a member of the House of Representatives that he helped in shaping the future of United States for example, he played a key role towards the growth and development of this nation. He also played a part in the Southern and Western border extension agreements. Also he took part in the purchase of Louisiana province and in laying the foundations of the Monroe Doctrine. This research paper will mainly focus on John Quincy Adams’ personal views and his role in shaping the future of America.
Adams career could be said to have started when he decided to support George Washington in an issue that that was about if not, to divide the Americans into two groups. The issue at hand was the war between France and Great Britain sometimes back in 1793. Some Americans led by Thomas Jefferson wanted US to support France in this war while there were those who wanted US to form an alliance with Great Britain. Though Washington tended to lean on the Federalists side, John Adams advocated for US to remain neutral as far as this war was concerned, but this idea was not embraced by many and if anything, it received strong criticism. Despite this criticism, his vice president John Adams backed him something that later influenced other Americans to support him. His support touched Washington and in turn he appointed John Quincy Adam to be the US diplomat at Netherlands. (Richards L.L. 1986, 152)
Quincy Adams all thorough advocated for US neutrality in the French Revolution that was threatening to engage all European nations. He said that it was imperative for US to keep off this war if it was to realize its development agendas as the war would demand a lot of resources that would then be wasted whether human or capital. He knew that United States would shift its focus on growth and development to how the war would be fought but eventually US would not benefit at all from this.
In 1797 John Quincy was appointed to be the US diplomatic Representative in Prussia after Washington realized that he was doing a good job abroad. In Prussia, he helped in the brokerage of commerce and the friendship treaty. In 1800, Quincy went back to Boston to practice law but his impressive records on diplomacy kept shinning and this counted a lot in the 1802’s election where he was elected as a senator. Being a conscientious and vibrant senator, he played a pivotal role in the commerce and industry growth. As a senator, he had his own expectations and he had those that his party members expected him to meet for example, the Massachusetts Legislature wanted him to take care of the New England’s interests and those of the party that sponsored him in, the Federal party but he considered those who wanted him to pursue some specific policies that would benefit them as individuals as of secondary importance.
John Quincy Adams was a leader who was able to think outside the box. He was more concerned with the future of America than at the present times and that was why he decided to cast his approval vote for the purchase of the French owned province of Louisiana. He overlooked the immediate shortcomings that were inevitable and focused on the hidden benefits that would be realized if Louisiana province became the part of US. Adams Quincy was a man who constantly refused to be influenced by the appeal of the masses but only backed a policy if after he subjected it to his thought system qualified to be of importance to all Americans irrespective of their state or background.
Two things that motivated John Q. Adams in all his endeavors were how economic growth and development would be achieved and this is why for the second time, he was ready to put his career at stake by voting for the 1807’s Embargo Act that would ban America from participating in the trade between France and Britain whom were believed to have been violating the US rights. Though the embargo act was passed with good intentions, it badly backfired on the Americans because it failed to force France and Britain to comply but to make matters worse, it ruined United States’ economy. For these reasons, Quincy Adams was greatly despised at home by the Americans who referred to him as a traitor to not only his state but to his political Party. This led him to be replaced with another person several months before the election time was due and thus, he resigned. (Hecht B.M. 1995; 78)
Though he resigned from his job, this did not deter him from soldiering on with his diplomatic career. In 1809, he was again chosen to be the US diplomat in Russia. During this period, he strengthened the US- Russia relationship on trade something that helped US to get back to its feet. This is because the former trade outlets had been sealed off by France and Britain. In the same year, the War of 1812 between US and Britain broke out because the former in a bid to enforce its embargos against France. Quincy as the head of this commission, led to the signing of the Ghent Treaty which helped to end the war though the actual causes were left unsolved.
Though the Ghent Treaty was passed, the relationship between US and Britain did not improve and for this reason, in 1815, the diplomatic relations were held where Quincy Adams represented the US interests. It was hard to reach to a compromise but finally he was able to secure the1817’s Rush- Bagot convention which was about US and Canadian border disarmament. (Nagel P.C. 2002; 56-65) Quincy Adams also helped in the signing of agreements that saw the resumption of the United States trading rights in British’s oversea territories such as India. He also helped in fixing the US- Canada border all the way to the Rocky Mountains. This solved the long term conflict that existed between United States and Britain and it helped US to redirect its efforts to developmental programs instead of securing agreements and treaties.
He marked the end of serving as a foreign emissary in 1817 when he became the secretary to the cabinet in the reigns of Monroe. This was a very crucial time in the history of America as at this time all the European struggles were over. However, as time went by, he found himself at crossroads especially when he realized that he was the only one who was supporting Jackson’s move to capture and occupy Saint Marks as well as Penacola during which Jackson captured and killed two British nationalities. In justifying his move, he said that Jackson was acting within the powers and shifted the blame to the weak Florida’s Spanish rule. He succeeded in convincing Monroe that that was the right thing and Spain was supposed to govern its region properly or give it to USA. In his doing this, he had the interests of the US at heart but in this one he had gone way too far as Jackson bargained for more than was required.
He was very vibrant in the signing of the Monroe Doctrine which held that the South and North America were not subject to colonization by the European powers and these nations were not supposed to involve themselves in the affairs of the Western hemisphere nations. In structuring this doctrine, Quincy Adams’ point was that Russia had a right to contest for territorial rights in any part of the world but the Americas were not part of this conquest and thus no European nation was supposed to claim any territory on this region. He kept on stating this almost for a whole year but it was not until Monroe emphasized it that it was implemented. (Nagel P.C. 2002; 56-65)
In 1824, John Quincy Adams was elected the president of US. The work of presidency was not a smooth ride to Quincy Adams as he thought this would be. He thought that he would be the president of all Americans but some people started opposing him and especially those in the congress who were ardent supporters of Jackson. As opposed to other American presidents, who were politically inspired, Adams was only concerned with his competence. He even appointed his key officials on their merit as opposed to their political party affiliations thus he ended up choosing his enemies in these offices. This is something that worsened the fact that his party was not supporting him. (Hecht B.M. 1995; 45)
In his first meeting with the congress, he came up with a proposal to consolidate and develop his nation and this was supposed to be financed by the federal funds. This was to be realized by constructing new canals, harbors, highways, increasing military schools and building new universities. The congress deliberately refused to support him in his policies and it specifically opposed his policies on Science and Art development. This served as a wake up call to him that he was too much ahead of Americans in thinking that they were in need of infrastructure that would help them all. This continued hatred that was directed against Quincy Adams culminated into him being not reelected when it came to the election time in 1828.
It can be concluded by saying that unlike other United States presidents; John Quincy Adams was not very interested with politics but was more focused on how the economy would improve and the whole nation to develop. His lack of showing concern to his Federal Party led him not to be supported by the members and most of the times he was on the wrong side. In as much as he wanted US to be developed, there were a lot of obstacles that hampered this, but all in all, he succeeded in purchasing Louisiana province and the signing of Monroe Doctrine among others.
Hecht B.M. Quincy Adams: A Personal History of an Independent Man. Amer Political Bibliography.1995; 45, 78
Nagel P.C. John Quincy Adams: A public life, a Private life. Harvard University Press, 2002; 56-65
Richards L.L. The life and Times of Congressman John Quincy Adams. Oxford University Press.1986, 152