6th U.S. President: John Quincy Adams

About the sixth President of the United States John Quincy Adams, his birth, death, biography, description, facts and quotes.


Born: July 11, 1767, at Braintree (now Quincy), Mass.

Died: February 23, 1848, in Washington. After leaving the White House, Adams served as a congressman for 18 years, and he was at his desk in the House of Representatives when he suffered a fatal stroke.

Career: Aide and companion to his father, John Adams; Harvard graduate; Boston lawyer; diplomatic representative to Holland, Prussia, and Russia; U.S. senator; Minister to England; Secretary of State under Monroe; and the actual author of "The Monroe Doctrine."

Personal Life: At 30, he married the beautiful daughter of an American diplomat in London; the marriage lasted more than 50 years, despite major difficulties. His wife wrote: "As it regards women, the Adams family are one and all peculiarly harsh and severe in their characters. There seems to exist no sympathy, no tenderness for the weakness of the sex." Adams's oldest son was a would-be poet who suffered hallucinations and committed suicide at age 28.

His Person: Only 5'7" tall, with a plump body, shiny bald head, and white sideburns. His eyes were red and watery, and they bothered him constantly but he went without spectacles all his life. He was notoriously careless about clothes and wore the same hat for 10 years.

Election: In the electoral free-for-all of 1824, Adams finished 2nd, behind Gen. Andrew Jackson, but since none of the 4 candidates had a majority, the choice was thrown to the house of Representatives. There, speaker Henry Clay swung the election to Adams. When Adams appointed Clay as Secretary of State, the Jackson forces cried "corrupt bargain"-a charge that doomed Adams's bid for reelection in 1828.

Term of Office: March 4, 1825-March 4, 1829 (4years).

Little-Known Facts: In 1832, Adams published a 108-page book of his poetry. He was the only President who was a published poet. Every warm morning at 5 A.M., President Adams would slip down to the Potomac River for a quick dip in the buff. Once a lady reporter, Anne Royall, surprised him during his swim, sat down on his clothes and refused to go away until he had given her an interview he had been trying to avoid.

Quote from Adams:

"I am a man of reserved, cold and forbidding manners."

Quote about Him:

"Of all the men whom it was ever my lot to accost and to waste civilities upon, he was the most doggedly and systematically repulsive. With a vinegar aspect, cotton in his leathern ears and hatred in his heart, he sat...like a bulldog among spaniels."-W. H. Lyttleton.

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